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Benazir Bhutto Meets with Estranged Brother

July 8, 1996

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is working on mending relations with her estranged younger brother, a political rival who was once arrested on her order.

Ms. Bhutto and her brother, Murtaza, met late Sunday at the prime minister’s residence overlooking the capital.

Murtaza Bhutto told reporters Monday that the family feud is on the mend, but he and his sister remain miles apart politically.

``There are no disputes among us in the family,″ he said Monday. ``It’s not something personal, but we have political differences.″

``What I thought would be a meaningful dialogue (on politics) was in the end meaningless,″ he said. ``We just kept moving in circles.″

Both claim to be the political heir to their father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Murtaza Bhutto has claimed his sister’s government is corrupt and incompetent.

Information Minister Khalid Ahmed Kharal told The Associated Press that the meeting was a ``family affair,″ intended to be a reconciliation.

Ms. Bhutto had not seen her brother since 1990.

Murtaza Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 1993, after living in exile in Syria following the 1977 military coup that overthrew their father.

He has admitted heading the guerrilla Al-Zulfikar Organization and said his goal initially was to overthrow military dictator Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who died in a 1988 plane crash.

He is accused of masterminding the 1981 hijacking of a Pakistani Airlines plane over Karachi that left one passenger dead.

When Murtaza Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 1993, Ms. Bhutto ordered him arrested on air piracy charges. He spent about six months in jail before being released on bail.

During 1993 elections, he campaigned as an independent candidate and won a seat in the assembly governing the province of Sindh in southeast Pakistan.

Last year he launched a rival political party, claiming his sister’s People’s Party ``has deviated from it’s original policies and has been usurped by robbers.″

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