Musharraf or nor Musharraf, Bhutto will need the military to come back to power: TimeNovember 19th, 2007 - 8:29 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Nov.19 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto may appear to have washed her hands off President General Pervez Musharraf, but if a report in the Time magazine is anything to go by, she will have to play ball with another general of the Pakistan Army if she wants to be the Prime Minister of her country for a third time.
According to the magazine, the Bush Administration was counting on the Musharraf-Bhutto deal to keep Pakistan stable, but if Benazir won’t deal, then the U.S. may turn to the Pakistani military, which receives 150 million dollars a month in American aid.
“The best way to get Musharraf out is to prevail on his other colleagues in the military to remove him,” the magazine quoted an Administration official close to current discussions on Pakistan, as saying.
The magazine further goes on to say that Musharrafs obvious successor or replacement is Lt. General Asfaq Kiyani, the Vice Chief of the Pakistan Army, who is deeply loyal to Musharraf.
But a Western diplomat has been quoted as saying that Lt. General Kiyani has also worked closely with Bhutto as her military secretary, and was a key interlocutor in the early stages of the negotiations between Bhutto and Musharraf.
Bhutto, therefore, must know that she cannot return to power without the endorsement of the military, says the magazine.
Time, in its report, also dwells on the fact that many in Washingtons corridors of power believe that Musharraf is getting increasingly heavy-handed and dictatorial.
“Musharraf is digging in. He is either suicidal or totally ignorant of the situation,” says Stephen Cohen, a South Asia expert and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Musharraf “is capable of doing anything now. He has already confronted the press, the judiciary and the lawyers. Now, he will attack the political parties, and they have large followings across Pakistan. There will be chaos,” the magazine quotes,” Iftikhar Gilani, a former law minister under Bhutto who also has been a member of the general’s party, as saying.
Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both telephoned Musharraf and urged him to ease up.
It also says that there is a mystery to Bhuttos short-lived marriage of convenience to President Pervez Musharraf.
Her friends, well-wishers and political rivals are wondering what prompted Benazir to enter into a deal with Musharraf.
Some said her motivation was pure self-interest: she was that desperate to return to power. Others bought Bhutto’s explanation that a deal with Musharraf would allow Pakistan a smooth transition to democracy. And conspiracy theorists concluded that she had agreed to join him only at the insistence of their matchmaker, the Bush Administration. The fact remains that the dysfunctional dalliance was cut on November 13 with Bhutto saying that it was impossible to work with Musharraf.
There is a view now that Bhutto can now pursue a common agenda, with complete unanimity of goals, with the other opposition parties.
But first she will face a wall of scepticism from those who have been at the front lines of the uprising while she has hogged headlines in the rear, the magazine opines. (ANI)
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