Pakistan promises exile will be safe

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Karachi (Reuter) - Pakistan's best-known social worker, Abdul Sattar Edhi, returned home at the weekend after a month's self-exile in Britain, saying he has been assured of his security by the Islamabad government.

Mr Edhi had secretly left the port city of Karachi on 7 December saying he would not return because he feared an unspecified group seeking to topple the Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, would kill him to inflame further the violence that then raged in Karachi. The Prime Minister and several other politicians appealed to him to return home.

"I have become a Pakistani for the second time," Mr Edhi said on arrival at Karachi airport from London.

Mr Edhi, whose Edhi Welfare Trust runs an ambulance service across the country as well as centres for drug addicts, homeless women, orphans and mentally handicapped children, said the government had given him assurances to ensure his security.

He declined to name the people who he believed had threatened his life He said, however, that he had left a 200-page manuscript in London with instructions to publish in case "anything happens to me".

Karachi has been relatively quiet for about two weeks after the government started conciliation talks with the powerful Mohajir National Movement (MQM) party aimed at ensuring peace in Pakistan's commercial capital.