Benazir unknowingly helped Musharraf gain support within army

November 23rd, 2007 - 4:46 pm ICT by admin  

Karachi, Nov 23 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhuttos belligerent political posturing since her return to the country on October 18 has reinforced the perception among the military commanders that it was the worst time to lift support from President General Pervez Musharraf.

More worryingly, Benazirs combative statements dealt a severe blow to her desire of finally making peace with the Pakistani military establishment, The News said in its analysis.

What does Benazir expect from the Army or the people when she starts her day by demanding that the US cut off aid to the Pakistani military, asked a general who is not authorised to speak on the record with the media.

I know General Musharraf and General Kiyani had a hard time selling the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to senior commanders, he claimed, adding that Musharrafs decision to grant amnesty to Benazir was considered a highly unpopular decision within the institution.

Her statements on AQ Khan and the Armys role in curbing militancy had already complicated the situation before she launched the aid cut-off campaign in the western media, another Army general said on condition of anonymity.

The notion that she is playing to the gallery in western capitals is gaining ground in the Army in particular and the country in general, he added.

This became evident when the visiting United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte got a sense of that his meeting with Benazir carry negative consequences.

An element of mystery was added in the military minds when Benazir, backed by huge support from the western media, suddenly opted to increase pressure on General Musharraf by demanding the US to cut military aid to nuclear-armed Pakistan.

The military commanders also turned down Musharrafs offer to quit both as the Army chief and president if that would help restore the much-desired civil- military balance of power in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Army is still standing solidly behind him, the United States is pretty comfortable with the situation and his fractious political supporters are busy in getting their act together for the elections. (ANI)

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