INTRODUCTION: The Pakistan government announced on Thursday (2 June) that it was freeing three important opposition members from detention on the eve of talks aimed at settling the country's political crisis.
SV EXTERIOR: Prime Minister's office
SV INTERIOR: President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto enters room and shakes hands and takes seat. (2 shots)
SV: ministers seated at table. (4 shots)
MCU AND SV: Mr. Bhutto seated at table. (2 shots)
There is now some doubt as to whether the talks between Mr. Bhutto and the Opposition will take place at all. One opposition leader said they would not attend unless what he called an 'intensified wave of repression and reign of terror' in many Punjab towns by the ruling party was immediately checked.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The Pakistan government announced on Thursday (2 June) that it was freeing three important opposition members from detention on the eve of talks aimed at settling the country's political crisis. The conflict between the government and the opposition has now lasted for three months and been marked by a series of strikes and violent demonstrations. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto called a meeting of his ministers on Wednesday (1 June) to discuss the serious effect the continued crisis is having on the country's economy.
SYNOPSIS: The ministerial meeting was held in Rawalpindi -- a city that has seen many of the violent clashes. Prime Minister Bhutto's general election success in March was the original cause of the conflict. Opposition parties claimed that voting had been rigged in favour of the ruling People's Party, led by the Prime Minister. The alliance of opposition parties began a campaign of strikes and civil disobedience to back their calls for new elections. Martial law was imposed in three of the country's main cities. Opposition leaders were arrested. But no solution has yet been found for the political crisis which is now having a drastic effect on Pakistan's economy.
Mr. Bhutto was due to begin talks with opposition leaders on the third of June. The success of those talks is vital.