The next few months are critical to Pakistan's future direction as a democratic state committed to promoting peace, fighting terrorism and working for social justice.
Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness create the desperation that fuels religious extremism.
I found that a whole series of people opposed me simply on the grounds that I was a woman. The clerics took to the mosque saying that Pakistan had thrown itself outside the Muslim world and the Muslim umar by voting for a woman, that a woman had usurped a man's place in the Islamic society.
Military dictatorship is born from the power of the gun, and so it undermines the concept of the rule of law and gives birth to a culture of might, a culture of weapons, violence and intolerance.
Democracy needs support, and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies.
I seek to lead a democratic Pakistan which is free from the yoke of military dictatorship and that will cease to be a haven, the very petri dish of international terrorism.
Pakistan's future viability, stability and security lie in empowering its people and building political institutions. My goal is to prove that the fundamental battle for the hearts and minds of a generation can be accomplished only under democracy.
I have led an unusual life. I have buried a father killed at age 50 and two brothers killed in the prime of their lives. I raised my children as a single mother when my husband was arrested and held for eight years without a conviction - a hostage to my political career.
As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women's issues, in bringing down the population growth rate... as a woman, I entered politics with an additional dimension - that of a mother.
Whatever my aims and agendas were, I never asked for power.
Democracy is necessary to peace and to undermining the forces of terrorism.
It's true that General Musharraf opposes my return, seeing me as a symbol of democracy in the country. He is comfortable with dictatorship. I hope better sense prevails.
My father was the Prime Minister of Pakistan. My grandfather had been in politics, too; however, my own inclination was for a job other than politics. I wanted to be a diplomat, perhaps do some journalism - certainly not politics.
Right now, they feel they have lost their voice, and their miseries have increased since my departure.
I was a very shy girl who led an insulated life; it was only when I came to Oxford, and to Harvard before that, that suddenly I saw the power of people. I didn't know such a power existed, I saw people criticising their own president; you couldn't do that in Pakistan - you'd be thrown in prison.
America's greatest contribution to the world is its concept of democracy, its concept of freedom, freedom of action, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought.
The government I led gave ordinary people peace, security, dignity, and opportunity to progress.
The political parties have unanimously rejected the one-man constitutional changes.
Pakistan is heir to an intellectual tradition of which the illustrious exponent was the poet and philosopher Mohammad Iqbal. He saw the future course for Islamic societies in a synthesis between adherence to the faith and adjustment to the modern age.
When the United States aligns with dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, it compromises the basic democratic principles of its foundation - namely, life, liberty and justice for all.