The state of emergency will be lifted within a month, the government of Pakistan vowed today, as opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was allowed to leave her villa to meet with supporters at the offices of her party. Police moved aside barricades used yesterday to prevent her from attending a planned rally protesting martial law and the suspension of the constitution. Bhutto is expected to meet today with foreign diplomats.
Bhutto's house arrest yesterday dampened US hopes that she would form a power-sharing agreement with President Pervez Musharraf in opposition to militants who control a growing swath of northwestern Pakistan. Some observers said that the house arrest enhanced Bhutto's position by boosting her credibility as an opposition leader; she has not ruled out resuming talks with Musharraf.