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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bhutto Rules Out Pact With Musharraf

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Tuesday called on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to resign and ruled out serving under him in a future government after she was placed under house arrest for the second time in five days.

With the political turmoil deepening, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte was headed to Pakistan and expected to reiterate Washington's calls for Musharraf to lift the state of emergency.

Musharraf's critics and chief international backers, including the United States, have said the restrictions imposed by the military leader -- including on independent media and rallies -- would make it hard for upcoming parliamentary elections to be fair.

Bhutto was trapped in a padlocked house surrounded by thousands of riot police, trucks, tractors loaded with sand, and a row of metal barricades topped with barbed wire. She said it was now likely that her Pakistan People's Party would boycott the January elections and ruled out serving another term as prime minister under Musharraf.

"I simply won't be able to believe anything he said to me," she told reporters by telephone from the house in Lahore, where she was held to prevent her from leading a protest procession.

Her comments appeared to bury hopes of the political rivals forming a pro-U.S. alliance against rising Islamic extremism. They had held months of talks that paved the way for Bhutto's return from exile last month to contest the parliamentary elections.

In the southern city of Karachi, Bhutto supporters fired on two police stations in a poor district where her party is popular, and police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, senior police officer Fayyaz Khan said. A 9-year-old boy and a 22-year-old woman were injured in crossfire between demonstrators and police, witnesses said.

Bhutto told the private Geo TV network that Musharraf was an obstacle to democracy and must resign both as president and army chief.

She accused Musharraf of in effect imposing martial law when he declared emergency rule on Nov. 3, suspending citizens' rights and rounding up thousands of opponents. Musharraf said the restrictions were needed to bolster the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Authorities mounted a massive security operation to prevent Bhutto from leading a 300-kilometer procession to Islamabad, the capital, to press for an end to emergency rule.

Aftab Cheema, chief of operations of Lahore city police, said Bhutto would not be allowed to leave the house.

Bhutto said that once she was freed from detention, she would work to forge a broad alliance, including with Nawaz Sharif, a longtime rival and fellow former prime minister who shares her wish to end military rule.

Sharif was ousted by Musharraf in the 1999 coup that brought the general to power. He attempted to return to Pakistan in September but was immediately deported.

Speaking from exile in Saudi Arabia, Sharif said he believed the opposition was "beginning to get together."

Bhutto said she saw no prospect of achieving political power by cooperating with Musharraf's administration.

"Now we've come to the conclusion that even if we get power, it will just be a show of power. It won't be substantive power," Bhutto said. "It seems unlikely that the People's Party will participate in the upcoming elections."