Islamabad: Leaders of the opposition All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) have welcomed former premier Benazir Bhutto's decision to return to Pakistan on October 18 - but advised her not to enter into a deal with President Pervez Musharraf.
APDM embraces 32 groups including the six-party MMA Islamic alliance and the PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned from exile on Monday, only to be deported to Saudi Arabia by the government.
PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq said Benazir had every right to come back. "We stand for the return of all political leaders from exile to participate in the forthcoming general election."
"The only objection we have is we do not favour any deal with the military ruler. It will not be good for the country if any political party strikes a deal with Musharraf to prolong his stay in power," Haq said.
He recalled the partnership between PML-N and Benazir's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), which has effectively come to an end after the PPP's negotiations with Musharraf.
Haq said the PML-N still desired a good relationship with the PPP but if Benazir supported Musharraf it would not be possible "for us to have any cooperation with the PPP."
Liaqat Baloch, a central leader of the MMA, said if Benazir made an alliance with Musharraf "we shall oppose her as our struggle is against military rule in the country."
Imran Khan, chief of Tehreek e Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party, also a member of the APDM, said: "We welcome Benazir's return, but we will have to see whether she stands with Musharraf or supports the struggle against military rule."
"In case Benazir makes a deal with the military ruler it would damage the cause of restoration of democracy in Pakistan," he said.