|Fox News Network
SHOW: FOX HANNITY & COLMES (21:31)
Interview With Benazir Bhutto
GUESTS: Benazir Bhutto
BYLINE: Sean Hannity; Alan Colmes
September 23, 2002 Monday
HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I’m Sean Hannity reporting tonight from Washington, D.C.
And also coming up, is there any reason that this woman shouldn’t lose custody of her children? Well, we’ll debate that. But first, we’re joined by the former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.
Madame, prime minister, good to see you. Thank you for coming back to the program. I want to ask — I think there are many forces within Pakistan that fear you coming back into that country. I think it’s played a part. In July, you were found guilty in abstentia of corruption, sentenced to three years. You could face imprisonment if you return. And a few weeks ago, the Pakistan election commission determined you could not be a candidate for office in October. What is it about you that they fear?
BENAZIR BHUTTO, FMR. PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: I believe the military hard-liners fear my return because under my leadership, Pakistan fought the forces of extremism, militancy, and terrorism. I stopped the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan. Until my government was overthrown, the Taliban were unable to break off the talks with the U.N. After my overthrow, they invited in Usama. And he set up al Qaeda.
BHUTTO: So I think they do fear my return.
HANNITY: Are Americans wrong in thinking that General Musharraf has done a good job as it relates to supporting us in the war on terror?
BHUTTO: Well, I wish the real Mr. Musharraf would stand up. Although he himself says that he is supportive of the U.S. action in the war against terror, he has surrounded himself with sympathizers of al Qaeda and of the Taliban. For example, last month he appointed a deputy attorney general to prosecute me, whose son died fighting for al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And I’m saying wait a minute.
BHUTTO: I support the war against terror. You should be strengthening my hand.
HANNITY: Do you think that — what we hear that he has done this to his own peril. And we hear that there have been so many changes and efforts to shore up his own government, that those are false reports, that there isn’t a real internal threat against him for his stand against terrorism, and his stand against al Qaeda?
BHUTTO: Oh, the people of Pakistan are very firmly opposed to al Qaeda and Taliban. People of Pakistan are suspicious of the involvement of some of our hard-line generals and their links to al Qaeda and Taliban.
BHUTTO: I think the United States could depend on the people of Pakistan to support the war against terror. They don’t have to depend on the generals.
COLMES: Madame Prime Minister, welcome to New York. Let me show you what you said as quoted in “The Salt Lake Tribune” back in January of this year. You said, “our policing of the region would have been far superior than the current regime, and there never would have been a need for the U.S. to bomb Afghanistan because there would never have been a World Trade Center attack,” you said earlier this year. You believe, had you been prime minister, had you stayed in power, September 11, 2001, would not have resulted in the atrocities?
BHUTTO: Yes, I believe that September 2001 would not have taken place when I was prime minister. None of the attacks on international terror took place when I was prime minister. The two attacks on the World Trade Center, the two attacks on the two U.S. embassies in Africa, and the Cole ship in Yemen all took place when my party and I were in opposition.
COLMES: So what you’re saying is a government in Pakistan can itself prevent this will level of terror from happening? Or isn’t this a multinational group of people who came together to do this, didn’t extend far beyond Pakistan? How could one prime minister affect such change?
BHUTTO: Well, maybe they would have had to shift their operations away to another region of the world if they wanted to continue. But under my leadership, Pakistan had a strong government, which was cracking down on illegal immigration, which was cracking down on the movement of illegal aliens across our land. And we simply did not permit such terrorists and militants to go into Pakistan or out of Pakistan anywhere else in the world.
COLMES: We’ve heard that these cells though met in Hamburg, Germany. They met in different places, not just in Pakistan?
BHUTTO: True, but all of them somehow link up with Afghanistan. And that was accessed through Pakistan. Now we see that the key elements, people like Usama bin Laden’s right hand man, Abu Zubaydah, they are arrested from Pakistan.
COLMES: Do you think he’s alive? Usama?
BHUTTO: Usama? Anybody’s guess. I think he’s probably holed up in a mountain waiting for his time.
COLMES: Do you think he’s in Pakistan?
BHUTTO: I don’t think he’s in Pakistan, but I think he’s probably in no man’s land, that mountainous region.
COLMES: Do you think Musharraf knows where he is?
BHUTTO: I’m not sure whether Musharraf knows where he is, but I do know this much, that Musharraf does have people around him who want to stop me and stop my party because we’re a threat to terrorism.
COLMES: Why are you a threat? Because you’re saying they’re in sync with the terrorists. They want terrorism? They’re supporters of terrorism? And because you’re a threat to terrorism, they don’t want you around? So you’re saying Musharraf wants terrorism to continue?
BHUTTO: I’m saying that Musharraf was brought into power by those who want terrorism to continue. And I’m saying that Musharraf has been unable to break with them and to reach out to the democratic forces. I’m saying that he’s got people who fought the Afghan jihad in the past, who have deep friendships with Usama, with the Taliban. And they allowed Usama to escape and they allowed Mullah Omar to escape.
HANNITY: All right, we’ll take a break. We’ll come back. And when we come back, we’ll assess the magnitude of the threat of radical Islam, as we continue with the prime minister. And also coming up, she had a bad day. Well, that’s the reason Madelyne Toogood gave for her apparent beating of her child, her daughter. How will the courts respond? We’ll debate that. Busy night, straight ahead.
COLMES: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. Coming up, is there any excuse for this? We’ll tell you if Madelyne Toogood’s defense has a case. First, we’re continuing with the former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto.
Sean talks on some of the dissent about you in Pakistan, some of the allegations. Here’s what “The New York Times” reported in 1998. “Investigators have detailed a pattern of secret payments by foreign companies that sought favors during your two terms as prime minister.” Said “Mrs. Bhutto originally kindled wild enthusiasm in Pakistan with her populist brand of politics, then suffered a heavy loss of support as the corruption allegations gained credence.”
Why did they gain credence?
BHUTTO: Well, I guess the corruption allegations gained credence because the economy was doing very well. There were lots of contracts going about. There were billions of dollars coming into the country. And people were prone to buy any kind of rumor that was spread by the military hard-liners when they didn’t get a contract.
COLMES: Is your husband a political prisoner, rather than a prisoner for having any wrongdoing?
BHUTTO: Yes. My husband is a political prisoner. He’s being held as a hostage to my political career. Six years have passed, and he’s been persecuted inhumanly. He’s not the only one who’s in. The vice chairman of my party, the secretary general of my party, my close aides, and family are being persecuted.
COLMES: Let me ask you about our relationship with Iraq. And the arguments been made, if we do a preemptive strike, this could influence the relationship between Pakistan and India, and that there might be a preemptive strike taken there if we do that. They’ll say if the United States does it, why shouldn’t we do it? Does that concern you?
BHUTTO: Yes, it does concern me. And that’s why we’re very pleased that President Bush has decided to go to the United Nations. I know there was a lot of pressure on President Bush to act unilaterally.
COLMES: But he said if the United Nations doesn’t go along with him, he may still go it alone.
BHUTTO: Right, of course, that needs a little bit of clarification. My understanding is that the president wants to inspect Iraq’s installations. And my understanding is that the Arab leader’s going to talk to Mr. Saddam Hussein to get those inspections done. So I think this gives us an opportunity to try and work the political solution.
COLMES: Do you support a preemptive strike?
BHUTTO: Well, I don’t support a preemptive strike. I do support political measures to get to the bottom of the inspections with regard to nuclear. If that fails, obviously, then, the Muslim people will see that the military option was the only option.
BHUTTO: But a preemptive military strike to the exclusion of any political measure is something that is bothering me.
COLMES: So you’re saying then there would have to be more proof, there’d have to be something more solid for us to justify going in preemptively?
BHUTTO: Well, yes. I’m trying to say that it’s good that you get collective security.
BHUTTO: You get the U.N. to go in. You get the Arab states involved. And I think if you get the Arab states involved, and the issue is nuclear, they’re going to go to Saddam Hussein. And I think they can get him to cooperate. If they don’t, then of course, the situation changes.
HANNITY: We’ve had 12 years of lies, deceit, cat and mouse game, and further pursuit, a frenzied pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. What other proof, what other evidence would we need?
BHUTTO: You’re right on all those counts. There have been 12 years. And those 12 years haven’t led anywhere. But at this particular moment, I think it is important to go through the U.N. And I think it’s important to involve the Arab League. If there can be a political solution, why have the people of Iraq bombed?
HANNITY: And if there’s not, the United States still has the other option. Can I…
BHUTTO: It still has.
HANNITY: …do you have contact with the Bush administration or officials within the Bush administration?
BHUTTO: Well, I have contact with White House officials and with the State Department. Of course, I’d like high level contact, but for the time being, that’s the contact I have.
HANNITY: I’d like high level contacts there, too. They won’t let me in the door, but I’m teasing. I want you, from your perspective and your years in office and your battle, and your — you’ve watched the development of radical Islam, the extremist fanatical groups coming into power. How widespread, if you were to assess the threat for the world, how widespread is it? Are the numbers far greater than any of us want to admit?
BHUTTO: I think the numbers are far smaller, Mr. Hannity. I think about 10 percent of the population in the Muslim countries actually support the extremists and the militants. I think…
HANNITY: Ten percent of how many, though?
BHUTTO: Ten percent of one billion can become a huge number. It means 100 million.
HANNITY: It’s a huge number?
BHUTTO: Yes, this is a huge number. You’re right there again, Mr. Hannity. But 90 percent of the people in the Muslim world really admire democratic principles. And if they had an opportunity, many would come to America.
HANNITY: Why don’t we see that in any of these Islamic states? Why don’t we see that — look at the way women are treated.
HANNITY: Look at — you know, why don’t we see that — I mean, if that’s the case, if they want that, we don’t see that when there is that rule?
BHUTTO: Maybe they need a little bit of help, Mr. Hannity.
HANNITY: Do you want me to — how could we help them?
BHUTTO: Well, we had Free Radio Europe. We had other diplomatic and political measures to free the Communist people from the control that that authoritarian states had over them. And what I’d really like to see is an attempt by the international community to reach out to those women who are discriminated in the Muslim street, to reach out to those students who are denied education in the Muslim street, and to help empower them. Long term, I think that’s the way we’re going to really win this war against terror.
HANNITY: Well, I would like to see that for all the women of the world and for — I’d like to see the entire world live free because we see the blessings of liberty that we have established here. I don’t see this change happening any too quickly, do you?
BHUTTO: I wish I could see it happening quickly. One place where it can happen quickly is Pakistan. I’d like to see President Bush sit General Musharraf down and say, General Musharraf, you’ve got to have fair elections, elections in which all parties and all candidates…
HANNITY: You don’t view that as a realistic possibility, based on the fact that Musharraf is viewed, General Musharraf in this country, is viewed as somebody who has been very helpful in our battle against terror?
BHUTTO: You’re right. It’s viewed like that, but I think at the end of the day when one sees that the militants are regrouping, and the Karzai government is under threat, and the Pakistani democracy, the absence of it is leading to an unstable situation in Pakistan itself, I’m hoping that Washington would review its position.
COLMES: Madame Prime Minister, you predict — one last question. You predict a day when you will be prime minister once again?
BHUTTO: When fair elections are held. And I hope that day comes sometime soon for the sake of my people.
COLMES: Thank you for being with us tonight.
Coming up, what should the punishment be for a woman who does this to her own child? That debate when we get back on HANNITY & COLMES.