KARACHI, Pakistan — Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, banished from the capital for 30 days, offered Thursday to call off plans for a protest march on Parliament if the Pakistani government holds fresh elections.
The government deported her from Islamabad on Wednesday after she tried to lead a march on the Parliament building to demand the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government.
It was the first time in Pakistani history that the leader of the opposition had been banned from the capital, she said.
Bhutto told a news conference in Karachi that she is prepared to hold talks with the government but warned that the political crisis will escalate unless the two sides meet on an equal footing.
"Talks should be on one point--fresh, free, fair and impartial elections," she said. "Dialogue cannot be held between blackmailers and blackmailed."
Bhutto vowed to march on Parliament from Peshawar, capital of North-West Frontier province, in her struggle to get rid of a government she accuses of corruption and election rigging.
But the provincial government barred her from the province for 30 days, saying it was acting in the interests of public order. She said earlier she would not defy the ban on entering Islamabad.
Sharif said a massive security clampdown on Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi, the city from which Bhutto tried to launch her march Wednesday, should be eased after another day, official sources said.