What are Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf up to?

Posted on April 19, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

Rumors of a ‘deal’ between PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and Gen. Pervez Musharraf have been rife for a long time. All indications now suggest that a deal of some sort has, in fact, been reached.

The ferocity with which the rumors are being denied – with obvious insincerity – suggests that something is afoot. The question is, exactly what.

There is little utility, it seems to us, to indulge any further in the speculation than people already are. The much more important question is what – if anything – will such a deal mean for Pakistan and for democracy in Pakistan.

Will it make things better? Will it make things worse? Will things remain as they have always been and this will simply be one more round in the ‘great game’ of musical chairs that has always been Pakistan politics?

That is the question for our new ATP Poll (see top of middle column). Let us know what you think, and why? With your vote in the poll and with your comments below.

78 Comments on “What are Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf up to?”

  1. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    April 19th, 2007 1:19 am

    yar adil bhai ye picture kahan se dhoondi? Actually the pic is very intresting.

    Sharmati Lejhati dopatta ka kona pakri Benazir aur ghunday k taraha hasta huwa Musharraf. The picture says that *Deal* is done!!

  2. rai says:
    April 19th, 2007 1:35 am

    inviting a known,proven corrupt person to take over the country…
    I am surprised “it will make things better” is even a part of this poll

  3. Samdani says:
    April 19th, 2007 2:09 am

    I myself have voted ‘no difference’ because as the post says this is just musical chairs and faces might change but power centers wil not.

    However, I wonder why people have voted “WORSE”? Woudl be interested in hearing why people think it will become worse?

  4. younas says:
    April 19th, 2007 2:26 am

    long live Neo liberalism, war on terror, diluted mullah cocktails, endangered-mush drinking wisky-in moderation,Dr Zardari 20%.
    as young idealist , I joined PPP to pursue zulfikar ali Bhutto, ideals, I am sure i will hand in my resignation, pretty soon.

    Benazir bhutto is dead,only a ghost is present in corridors of power. fake pirated Bhutto
    long live Islamic socialism,long live original and real bhutto(shaheed zulfikar ali bhutto)

  5. April 19th, 2007 2:38 am

    Younas, as a former PPP-sympathizer, I too am disappointed by Benazir’s tendency to play to Washington’s gallery, as well as these moves towards a deal with the military. The PPP still has some good people among its ranks, but the way their leaders have betrayed us has only pushed me further towards the Left.

    If this deal is finalized, it would be a terrible blow to the democratic opposition to the military regime. I mean if the PPP shifts to a pro-Musharraf stance, what will become of the ARD? :(

  6. PatExpat says:
    April 19th, 2007 3:30 am

    If you read the following article in The News,


    you will see that Mohtarma would do anything to get the seat. Regarding her claims about General Musharraf, I believe them because Army have conducted similar adventures in the past like Operation Midnight Jackal and Kargil operation.

    A person who can sell the family secrets just to be in good books of George Bush or to prove herself better, she can never be good for the country much less democracy.

    God save the country from her and further damage to the institutions by Musharraf.

  7. Omar R. Quraishi says:
    April 19th, 2007 3:34 am

    Editorial, The News, April 19, 2007

    The real deal?

    Rumours of a deal between Benazir Bhutto and the Musharraf-led government have been doing the rounds for month but now it seems that finally something tangible is in the offing. However, the government as ever seems divided on the issue, not least because several of its ministers happen to be former PPP men, who then turned ‘patriotic’, eventually merging their ‘party’ with the ruling PML-Q. There are also several ministers who have been mostly quiet over the developments, while others, particularly the information minister, have vociferously denied any deal taking place. Even within the PPP itself, there has been generally a policy of keeping mum, with an official spokesman denying that any deal with the government was in the offing. Then there is the MQM, which in the past has been at daggers drawn with the PPP, over Sindh, and which has generally been quiet over this apparent development. There is also the MMA and its senior leader, JUI (F) chief and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, has been quoted as saying that the if the PPP were to come to power, it would be bad for the country. However, in the same address, to party workers in Peshawar, he asked why Ms Bhutto was not ready to sit with the MMA. Then there is the PML-N which may well be left high and dry if this arrangement does bear fruit. And the Chaudhries of Gujrat, who have been bitter opponents of the PPP, may well be quite unhappy as well to find that in this particular game of politics their services to General Musharraf and his regime may well go unrequited.

    If a deal is eventually worked out, the biggest gainer will plausibly be Ms Bhutto and her beleaguered husband Asif Ali Zardari, since one of the compromises will be on the many cases registered against the couple. However, this may well be a purely personal gain and only time will tell whether it pays dividends for the party as a whole. For instance, there is one view that says a party which has through much of its existence railed against military dictatorships should not be supping with generals, and certainly not in exchange for benefits that will accrue only to its top leadership. A deal, this view suggests, may well leave quite a few of the party’s diehard supporters disillusioned. Of course, deals are part of politics everywhere and the leader of an opposition political party, especially one who has seen bad times as has Ms Bhutto, may feel it his or her prerogative to arrive at some kind of compromise with an otherwise hostile government.

    There are also many Pakistanis who feel that the present government should not in any way enter into any agreement with Ms Bhutto and her husband since they have, according to this particular view, indulged in massive corruption when they were in power. However, this ignores the fact that at least ideologically speaking, the president and Ms Bhutto’s party have much in common, especially when important issues such as terrorism, fighting extremism, protection of minorities and ending discriminatory laws against women are considered (in the last matter, the PPP actually voted in favour of a government-sponsored bill in parliament). Of course, the president and his government have often been at the receiving end (and with some justification) on not coming good on the otherwise worthy intention of fighting extremism with actual deeds. Perhaps, having the support of a liberal and secular party like the PPP, which incidentally received the highest number of votes in the 2002 general election, will allow the president to do just that. One hopes that if a PPP government is formed, then at the very least, the space available to progressive and liberal elements in the country, to push forward an agenda of moderation and aggressively standing up to extremism will materialise. That perhaps would be the primary benefit to the country if indeed the purported deal between the PPP and General Musharraf is in fact real.

  8. Rashid Hashmi says:
    April 19th, 2007 4:50 am

    It does not matter if there is a deal or not. Pakistan like past will continued to be ruled in near and distant future by the most organized political party namely Pakistan Army. Till this party is dismantled there is not going to be any objective and positive change.

  9. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 19th, 2007 4:52 am

    Time will tell, but at one level this is a very bad news, because it is a victory for personality politics. The only thing that has been stopping PPP from striking a deal with Musharraf has been his unwillingness to let BB come back, otherwise, the same deal could have been made a long time back. That kind of deal would probably have been better because it would at least have been a step away from personality politics, giving PPP a new start with the potential of developing as an institution.

  10. BitterTruth says:
    April 19th, 2007 6:24 am

    “The lethal combination”
    “Absolute power meets absolute corruption”

  11. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 19th, 2007 6:57 am

    Also, when the PPP officially joins the government, and discredits itself once again, then NS will probably get the bulk of the anti-establishment votes on his side, with a likely alliance with MMA. Those who have been eager for the return of BB in the hope that this would strengthen the ‘liberal forces’ have hardly considered the possible backlash in the long-term whenever the military regime eventually unravels.

    Of course such a backlash and outcome can be avoided if BB comes back and delivers on good governance in a substantial way instead of repeating the performance of the 1990s, but her previous record and the performance of the present government does not really encourage much optimism on this count.

  12. holy_bazooka says:
    April 19th, 2007 8:42 am

    What are Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf up to?

    Screwing the rest of us.

  13. Democrat says:
    April 19th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Jiyala, I appreciate your laying out your argument. But have to disagree. I think it will make things WORSE because if this happens then people will loose whatever little confidence they have in democracy and political process. It will be another victory for military because it will say, “see, this is what your politicians are like?”

    If the politicians don’t take a stand for politics then what will they stand up for!

  14. Anwar says:
    April 19th, 2007 8:58 am

    My vote was “no difference.”
    It is a catch-22 situation. As a country with fragile economy, insurgency, and mess on Western borders Pakistan cannot afford agitations, wheeljams, close suhtters, unleashing of the Lal Masjid zealots, and anarchy. On the other hand people of Pakistan cannot afford to have this circus go on for ever.
    This leaves us with the status quo i.e. no difference!
    On a troublesome note, with Zardari on the horizon, the waterfront development in karachi will either decrease by 20% or expand 180% – depending upon which sheikh is ready to cough up the commission. And since BB has been residing in Dubai for years – she knows the fat purses.
    Standby and enjoy the show..

  15. YLH says:
    April 19th, 2007 9:18 am

    This will be good news for Pakistan no doubt.

  16. khobar says:
    April 19th, 2007 9:39 am

    I will post the following report in today’s DAWN of Karachi. This is self explanatory and if it is correct then all the rumours will dissipate.


    No deal with Musharraf, Benazir assures PML-N

    By Our Staff Reporter

    ISLAMABAD, April 18: Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Wednesday talked to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senator Ishaq Dar by telephone in Dubai, assuring him that her party would not strike any deal with the Musharraf regime and media reports in this regard were untrue, sources told Dawn.

    The sources said Ms Bhutto contacted Senator Dar after receiving information that the PML-N leadership was perturbed over reports regarding a deal between the PPP and President Pervez Musharraf, particularly after publication of her interview in a British daily.

    They said the former prime minister had clarified her position and assured Mr Dar that the PPP was committed to every word of the Charter of Democracy. She told the PML-N leader not to believe any report on the issue.

    She said she had directed her party leadership to counter the government’s ‘disinformation campaign’.

    Meanwhile, responding to a statement of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman that the country would break up if the PPP came into power, a spokesman for Ms Bhutto, Farhatullah Babar, said the remarks showed the maulana’s “contempt for the will of the peopleâ€

  17. khobar says:
    April 19th, 2007 9:49 am

    This is further to my post few minutes ago.
    Benazir is a seasoned politician and has inherited PPP from her father who chose to die rather than to compromise on his principle. The interest in deal or no deal shown by the people living in Pakistan and abroad clearly shows the importance of the party which is still one of the most popular political parties.

    [quote post="663"]Benazir[/quote]
    , I am sure, knows very well that it was the military who was responsible for dismemberment of the country and it was the military who sent her father gallows with the help of subservient judiciary at that time. It is the military who has deposed a popularly elected government of Nawaz Sharif and it was the military who was instrumental in sacking her government.

    The times have changed. The judiciary is struggling to recover their independence. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s courageous stand against the General and Generals will change the landscape of the politics of the country.

    Musharraf has no option but to remove his khaki and pack to go into exile.

  18. bhindigosht says:
    April 19th, 2007 9:49 am

    Also, from Dawn today: Chaudhry Shuj of Guj has said that a deal is acceptable only if PPP accepts Mush in uniform (talk about shamelessness)

    I for one, want to see PPP back in power,not through a deal, but an election. I think, PPP still has some of the smartest politicians. It is also a party with a manifesto,grassroots support, and most importantly support in all four provinces (though that may have eroded by now with all the Nationalist politics). The rumor on the street is also that the senior cadre of PPP are not interested in a deal, but want to fight it out in an election…. but BB knows that this is probably her last shot at getting power, so come hell or highwater……

  19. khobar says:
    April 19th, 2007 9:56 am

    bhindigosht, I agree with your comments. Chaudhry Shuj is under illusion that Benazir would compromise principles to get power. I hope the report in DAWN is hundred per cent correct.

  20. zjan says:
    April 19th, 2007 10:15 am

    [quote comment="44079"]inviting a known,proven corrupt person to take over the country…
    I am surprised “it will make things better” is even a part of this poll[/quote]

    What on earth do you think Musharraf is if not a known, proven corrupt person who has invited the Taliban in and hastened Pakistan’s demise……..Democracy will always make things better – just look at India. Please use your intellect and do not follow the usual middle-class Anti-democracy part line. Pakistan has grown richer under Mush – but as usual it is only the rich and middle-classes have benefited.

  21. Jiyala says:
    April 19th, 2007 12:40 pm

    I guess you will call me a Jiyala, but I think a a deal with be good because:

    1. It means that the military has accepted primacy of political parties.

    2. It is a victory for politics and the political, even if not a full victory yet.

    3. It will dilute Musharraf’s power and increase the parliaments.

    4. It will move country back to return to full participation by all political parties.

    5. This not ideal and complete victory for democracy but it is a step in that direction. And that is important.

  22. Ubaid says:
    April 19th, 2007 5:05 pm

    I dont think at all that this is a good deal for Pakistan or for Benazir. I think this is the move that will end her career and whatever little support she has will go away. Whatever Pakistan might have owed to her father is now paid back and she deserves no sympathy, she will only help prolong military rule.

  23. Ismail Hussein says:
    April 19th, 2007 11:48 pm

    I do not find Hussain Haqqani very believable most of the time. His past is known to us and he seems to be a lotta. This time he is with BB and he is writing this article as if he was her PR man. But I should say the argument is a good one and makes some sense. If this is true and if BB refuses whatever deal is offered then that will mean she has more intelligence than most of us think. But if that is case then why is she giving the statements she is giving?

  24. Indscribe says:
    April 19th, 2007 11:56 am

    Benazir and Nawaz are both hopeless. Though mine is an outsider’s view. But I remember in my childhood when Benazir appeared on the scene, there was so much expectation here also.

    ‘The daughter of East’ and books with similar titles in Urdu, Hindi were selling like hotcakes in India. Once she came to power, soon all the hope faded away.

    Why don’t you people give Imran Khan a chance. At least, he would not be corrupt. Kya khayaal hai?

  25. Idealist says:
    April 19th, 2007 1:40 pm

    Yet again”Hum Daikhain Gay” appropriate here.

  26. cynic says:
    April 19th, 2007 1:49 pm

    this is for sure that without some sort of a deal between the mainstream political parties and the military, there is not going to be any change in the political scenario, unless musharraf does a ziaul haq and disappears. maybe benazir is trying to do what she did to GIK. it remains to be seen if she can do it this time. as far as corruption is concerned we are all corrupt, so lets not worry about it!!!!

  27. Eidee Man says:
    April 19th, 2007 3:32 pm

    I think it’s GREAT NEWS for Pakistan if there is to be a PPP-Musharraf deal.

    No, I’m not a fan of either; however, I’m not an unrealistic idealist who thinks that another party like PTI with clean, honest people will take the country by storm within 6 months or so.

    If these groups (PPP, pro-Musharraf ppl) are sidelined, the country will almost certainly plunge into chaos with fringe Mullah groups getting even more control than they have now.

    The fact that two corrupt parties who were against each other are now forging a compromise, should be great news. This is because they’ll keep each other in check.

    My hope now is that these parties will win, form government, and COMPLETE THEIR TERM. Once we get into the habit of respecting the institutions involved in the political process, we can proceed further with appointing decent people in those institutions.

  28. Eidee Man says:
    April 19th, 2007 4:05 pm

    In more important news, Shoaib Malik is the new captain.

  29. zjan says:
    April 19th, 2007 5:23 pm

    [quote comment="44142"]I think it’s GREAT NEWS for Pakistan if there is to be a PPP-Musharraf deal.

    No, I’m not a fan of either; however, I’m not an unrealistic idealist who thinks that another party like PTI with clean, honest people will take the country by storm within 6 months or so.

    If these groups (PPP, pro-Musharraf ppl) are sidelined, the country will almost certainly plunge into chaos with fringe Mullah groups getting even more control than they have now.

    The fact that two corrupt parties who were against each other are now forging a compromise, should be great news. This is because they’ll keep each other in check.

    My hope now is that these parties will win, form government, and COMPLETE THEIR TERM. Once we get into the habit of respecting the institutions involved in the political process, we can proceed further with appointing decent people in those institutions.[/quote]
    [quote comment="44079"]inviting a known,proven corrupt person to take over the country…
    I am surprised “it will make things better” is even a part of this poll[/quote]

    Totally agree with you – pleasure to read a realist because although we civilians may not like it politics is the art of the possible!

    April 19th, 2007 5:36 pm

    If there is a deal, it will be a bad day for Pakistan and for the civil society. If “this dealâ€

  31. April 19th, 2007 6:19 pm

    This perspective from Hussain Haqqani on what may or may not be happening here is an important and relevant one. I am sorry to have missed it earlier but am attaching it here.

    Published in The Nation and other outlets.

    - – - – - – - – - -Illusion of a Deal

    By Husain Haqqani

    Each time General Pervez Musharraf comes under pressure at home or abroad, his minions float rumours of an impending deal with opposition leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf’s emissaries fly to Dubai, meet Ms. Bhutto and then both sides deny that a deal is in the making. Ms Bhutto’s willingness to keep open channels of communication with all political forces in Pakistan is abused by the Musharraf regime to create the illusion of a deal without actually pursuing one.

    Over the last few weeks, General Musharraf emerged as an increasingly ineffective military ruler facing widespread resentment at home and growing international ridicule. There is only one thing worse than a military strong running a country and that is a strongman who is clearly weak. Even Musharraf’s American armour has started to show some chinks. The U.S. media is openly questioning his ability to govern and his willingness to curb Taliban extremism. Several significant American senators wrote a letter recently to Musharraf urging him to allow the exiled national leaders, Ms Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League-N chief, Nawaz Sharif, to return and participate in the general elections.

    Even the State department spokesman, who said only a few days ago that Musharraf was “acting in the best interests of Pakistan and the Pakistani people” went on to suggest that the Pakistani government “instill a sense of confidence among the people that it will adhere to the rule of law as it deals with protestors demonstrating against the ouster of the Supreme Court [chief] justice.” Implicit was the recognition that such confidence did not exist, which is why the Pakistan foreign office felt compelled to respond that foreign comments on the issue were “not welcome.”

    As if to defuse the pressure, the rumour of a deal with Ms Bhutto was spread. To make the rumours plausible, the government abolished the cell that was supposedly investigating the foreign assets and offshore bank accounts of some politicians, including Ms Bhutto. A senior civil servant, identified most closely with the prosecution of cases against Ms Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was transferred and the impression was given that this was part of “confidence-building measures” preceding a Musharraf-Bhutto deal. But the substantive issues such as guarantees for a free and fair election and the restoration of civilian rule were not addressed as they have remained unaddressed before.

    A deal between Ms Bhutto and General Musharraf would suit the United States and is supported by the liberal segment of Pakistan’s oligarchy. Ms Bhutto would bring popular support for a power-sharing arrangement and could provide Pakistan’s army with an exit strategy. Through a deal, Musharraf could phase himself out of power in a predictable and planned manner, avoiding uncertainties that have followed past military rulers in Pakistan’s history. What, then, prevents a deal?

    General Musharraf represents a certain mindset, prevalent in the higher echelons of the Pakistani military, which makes him believe in his own invincibility. Whether it is the handling of India and Afghanistan or relations with the political opposition, Musharraf negotiates not for a deal but to buy time. Once the immediate crisis is over, he feels no need for a deal and negotiation process falls by the wayside until the next major crisis. Furthermore, Musharraf is willing to give immediate payoffs but is unwilling to bargain over the near-divine right of army chiefs to rule.

    In case of negotiations with Ms Bhutto, the two sides are far apart on fundamentals. Musharraf considers changes in his (and Pakistani intelligence machinery’s) relentless pursuit of Ms Bhutto and her family as major concessions for which Ms Bhutto should be grateful. From Ms Bhutto’s point of view, the cases against her constitute persecution and an end to persecution is the precondition for talks, not the desirable outcome. She wants negotiations to focus on political and constitutional matters, such as Musharraf’s uniform and guarantees for a free and fair poll.

    The cases against Ms Bhutto and her husband have lost their significance and, though still an inconvenience, do not have the same leverage they might have had a few years earlier. Fewer people around the world believe in the validity of the charges, which have largely remained unproven after almost eleven years. By way of comparison, let us examine other instances of former heads of government accused of corruption.

    Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos was removed from office in 1986. The graft cases against him and his wife, Imelda, were wrapped up by 1993 – a total duration of seven years. The cases against the Marcoses involved “billions of dollars” in cash and assets in several countries and still took no more than seven years to conclude. In case of Ms Bhutto and Mr. Zardari, eleven years have passed since Ms Bhutto’s removal from power in 1996 and not a single case has been finalized.

    Just as Musharraf and his military-intelligence machine use the rumours of a deal for advantage, the corruption cases too are proving to be illusory. The strategy has been to keep the sword of Damocles of allegations hanging without actually securing any convictions or final judgments. But the political value of the cases has diminished precisely because they haven’t been proven. Musharraf’s ability to blackmail Ms Bhutto on the strength of these cases is fading.

    Why, under such circumstances, does Ms Bhutto not agree to a grand alliance between Pakistan’s mainstream political parties, including the Islamist Mutahhida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and use violent protests to oust Musharraf? Ms Bhutto has clearly been weighing the pros and cons of joining an agitation which runs the risk of being hijacked by the Islamists and their structured organization.

    Ms. Bhutto has to take into consideration the network of Islamists within Pakistan’s military and intelligence services. After all, liberal politicians (notably Air Marshal Asghar Khan) contributed strongly to the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) campaign of 1977 only to find General Ziaul Haq ready to take over and rule for eleven years with the help of the Islamists within the PNA.

    Pakistan’s drawing classes, who have never been kind to Ms Bhutto except for a short stint in 1988, continue to criticize her but her core support base among the masses has remained more or less intact. The PPP’s vote bank even in 2002 stood at 28 percent, with all the restrictions and difficulties of exile.

    Pakistan’s intelligentsia recounts Benazir Bhutto’s supposed flaws and weaknesses almost on a daily basis but they forget her baptism by fire, which is her greatest strength. She has lost her father and two brothers to the Pakistani establishment, has borne the brunt of demonization and her husband has spent over 8 years in prison under trial (without conviction). Politics has affected her life far more than that of the drawing room class that hates her in its angry moments and criticizes her in the good ones.

    Ms Bhutto is ready to return to Pakistan and to lead the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in a free and fair election. She is currently struggling to mobilize international support from exile for a free poll in addition to supporting the combined opposition’s mobilization of public opinion within the country. But Ms Bhutto is also clear that she wants to pave the way for the army’s withdrawal to the barracks and the emergence of a functioning democracy. She will not take hasty steps that might perpetuate Khaki shadows over Pakistan.

  32. Kashif says:
    April 19th, 2007 6:38 pm

    There won’t be a deal. Return of BB will be end of Mush. I see recent events in the light of this hypothesis, as discussed here.

  33. zakoota says:
    April 19th, 2007 6:59 pm

    If a corrupt person like benazir comes this time, it’ll make the situation worse. Who knows the title of zardari may jump upto Mr 100% from being Mr 10%. Also this will prove that musharaf is and was never sincere to Pakistan. I can think of any other person to be a future leader except this benazir and her most corrupt husband will be the worst nightmare. Nawaz Sharif may be lallu, panju or whatever but to me he is more muhib-e-watan than her. In her 2 previous tenures, she did not do a single good thing for Pakistan. Oh yes thats the reason why there is so much pressure on mushy to bring her back, but on the other hand mushy is too coward and hopeless himself too.

  34. Dictator's Lipstick says:
    April 19th, 2007 10:23 pm

    I didn’t know how else to reach you Mr. Adil so I’m leaving this here:

    Do you know where this is in Pakistan?:


  35. zakoota says:
    April 20th, 2007 12:09 am

    Seems from this article (Hussain Haqqani’s) that HH will definately get some good position if Benazir ever comes back to power. Most of the points that this guy has raised favour BB’s support. I don’t know if people still remember that HH used to speak same good language for Nawaz Sharif at one point, infact, the highest ranking position that he has ever been to has been under Nawaz’s rule. I don’t think HH’s article is unbiased from any angle and as another gentleman mentioned in the previous post that he is a lota, I fully agree.

  36. Saleema says:
    April 20th, 2007 12:21 am

    Funny that all this dealing wheeling is ochesterated by the US

  37. ImrANwaR says:
    April 20th, 2007 12:56 am

    The whole story in Cartoons:

    Jan 1:

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  38. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    April 20th, 2007 1:04 am

    Excellent article by Hamid Mir.


  39. Owais Mughal says:
    April 20th, 2007 1:25 am

    If the deal news is true then it would only be a ‘marriage of convenience’. There is a big chance that BB will play double game just like she did it with GIK. GIK was offered Presidency in lieu of removing Nawaz govt but ‘jab kaam nikal gaya’ then GIK was also sent home high and dry. This whole drama is very nicely penned by Roedad Khan in his book ‘Pakistan inqalaab ke dahaanay par’. Roedad was chief negotiator from GIK side and accepts his and GIK’s political defeat in his book on how BB blindsighted them.

  40. lubna says:
    April 20th, 2007 7:51 am

    This is very disheartning. We have lost all our hopes.We were thinking that time and age might have taught some lessons to BB but looks like she is same. By doing so what does she want to achieve? She has already been two times PM

    We are too selfish–can not belive.With this all hopes would gone and pakistan would be soon in real bad shape

    I request Musharrif and BB that every body has to die
    some days you have to die and what you guys are leaving for your generation. BB son would never see PM ship.Bhutto would die and PP would die too. How many years they both wwill live more–leave something for our generations.
    I request AITIZAZ hassan,reza rubbani, nafees siddiquie and some other real (latif khosa) good PP politicians to leave the pp if BB decides this and make their own party along with imran khan who does not want to compromise with establishment and want indepent justice and equality in the country
    it is really pathetic if it happens.I will kill myself or will immigrate.

  41. Jamshed. A says:
    April 20th, 2007 10:41 am

    What a disaster it will be…

    As I said in a previous post, Bhutto family must not be allowed to rule Pakistan as they have raped the country for many years.

    Power should be given to Pakistani’s who are good for Pakistan. Perhaps its time to have some new and fresh blood for a change. How long Pakistani’s have to suffer over and over again.

    God help us all

  42. April 20th, 2007 11:08 am

    Musharraf Says Bhutto Not Returning: Really?

    It appears that Benazir is going to save the presidency of Musharraf through an unwritten understanding of helping her get back in power. She denies it but she has never been honest or trust worthy and she would do anything just to get in and stay in power, just as she was responsible for firing at a demonstration in which her mother was taking part to promote Benazir brother’s political position and it was during her misrule that her brother was assassinated of which she did not even hold a fair enquiry thus strengthening her implicit and illicit approval if not outright planning of the despicable murder, most definitely in the knowledge of her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, if not his doing, and he was let out of the prison by Musharraf *courts in Pakistan being manipulated by the rulers* as a first significant gesture to Benazir for setting up the ground for future political understanding! So once again, it appears that the people of Pakistan would suffer through the machinations of dictators and politicians. If Benazir was sincere she would join PML (N) and MMA and the protesting lawyers in a country wide mass movement to oust the dictator and then maybe even the MQM would also join it and the bandwagon effect would also possibly bring the PML (Q) turncoats around! BUT SHE IS UNSURE OF HER POLITICAL POPULARITY AND WOULD PREFER THE BACK DOOR THROUGH SOME SUBTLE ELECTION RIGGING IN HER FAVOR IN EXCHANGE FOR MAKING MUSHARRAF PRESIDENT THROUGH THE PARLIAMENT FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS! WHAT A SHAME! And, Musharraf’s playing with the cases in the courts against her and against Zardari is for political maneuvering and if she is really corrupt as was alleged by the President of Pakistan, Leghari from her political party who dismissed her government on these charges among others, including that of political incompetence, she should first be cleared by the courts without their being influenced one way or the other by the despot! The autocrat should not be allowed to continue and the only good he can do for the country is to speed up and have the pending cases against all politicians tried honestly, and if still possible hold free and impartial elections and get out!!!

  43. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 20th, 2007 1:07 pm

    BB has a history of playing a double game and back stabbing others.

    She struck a deal with the military in 1988 agreeing that the military would retain control over foreign policy, but went against it when she met Ragev Gandhi. In 1993, she backstabbed NS by striking a deal with GIK. Last yeear, she signed the charter of democracy with NS, and now she is dealing with Musharraf. We should not be surprised if she also stabs Musharraf at the first opportunity, but for now, she needs to strike a deal with him to return. Old habits don’t go away easily, especially for an opportunist like BB.

  44. zakoota says:
    April 20th, 2007 7:43 pm

    Listen all my good friends,

    We all recently heard about “Double Shah” (A guy who promised people to double their money in a given time and people actually gave him money thinking that their money will be doubled in a short period of time, 70 days I believe),so finally this quake was caught, people protested against the authorities! they protested because they really thought that he can double the money in real!

    Then there was this mobile phone virus mania, where people thought that some deadly virus is going to attack them if that get some unknown call and believe me they kept phones off and really was a scare among masses.

    These are just a few recent examples of how simple people are made stupid.

    Now this is the situation of our beloved nation. Can they decide such an important issue whether BB will be better or mushy? or anyone else perhaps??? our people know that who so ever that will be, nothing will be done for the betterment of themselves and everyday prices will be going sky high as usual.

    Can any one tell me if any political party has ever protested against the low standard of our education? poor condition of our roads? a rather miserable overall infrastructure? rocketing high prices of everyday commodities? and biggest of all, the instable peace?

    All they are doing is blaming each other to grab seats and nothing else.

    What difference it make? who cares if Shoukat Aziz will no political background becomes Prime Minister without any efforts. A guy like Moin Qureshi comes from somewhere, whom probably no body knew, becomes the caretaker PM of the nation? Examples like these are hundreds in number?

    So who cares about the people? tell me who does???

  45. Wasiq Ali says:
    April 20th, 2007 9:53 pm

    Husain Haqqani might know something we do not. Even if we do not agree with his analysis, it is a useful addition to the ongoing discussion.

    Guys! There is no need to froth at the mouth against Benazir Bhutto or the mere idea of a deal. If the deal is to pave the way for transition from military rule, that is good. If it is only for BB’s personal benefit, she will lose public support and so we need not get all heated up on the matter. Politics is the art of the possible.

    For those who hate BB and believe she and her husband are criminals I say that there are only two ways of dealing with a crime: Punish it in a court of law or let public opinion decide.

    Efforts to punish Ms Bhutto in courts of law have failed and ten years have gone by.

    Now there will be an opportunity to address her “crimesâ€

  46. zjan says:
    April 20th, 2007 10:17 pm

    How may of you actually vote as opposed to sitting around bitching about the Bhutto’s. The PPP still has the largest votebank in Pakistan but you people seem to have other contempt for the actual Pakistani voters – perchance because they are poor and less expensively educated. Shame on you. All you do is attack people – Benazir, Haqqani, Nawaz etc

  47. Ikram Ullah says:
    April 20th, 2007 10:56 pm

    zjan, I have voted in each of the elections since the first one Benazir won, except for the last elections under Musharraf. I voted for the PPP the first time, and never again. And I know many many other people who regularly vote and do not vote for her. Remember, the PPP has NOT won a real majority since Bhutto’s 1971 elections (it probably would have in 1977 but ZAB messed up his own good thing).

  48. Ikram Ullah says:
    April 20th, 2007 11:23 pm

    On a different note, I have recently become a regular reader of Hussain Haqqani’s op-eds even though I am not a PPP sympathizer. I know him and his political career a little too well to be comfortable with his political scruples. But I have come to admire his writing and his grasp over important trends. Shows why Nawaz and Benazir both saw him to be useful. I don’t trust his politics but find his political insights very interesting :-)

  49. zakoota says:
    April 21st, 2007 12:09 am

    Dear Wasiq Ali, Im well aware what Hussain Haqqani is currently doing and where is he posted at. If you read my last post in this thread may be you’ll get to know what I’m trying to stress.

  50. JeevayPakistan says:
    April 21st, 2007 5:46 am

    Corruption in Musharraf’s Pakistan is at every level so why this Bhutto obsession????

    One recent example:


    Respected Sir,

    We are the employees of SECP who want to inform you about the dishonest actions, illegalities, irregularities and mal- practices being committed by Mr. Razi Ur Rahman, Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Brief detail is as under:

    a) Mr. Razi Ur Rehman is giving millions of rupees of public money to his favorites lavishly in the form of advertisements and Consultancy fee etc and all belong to Karachi. It is known by everyone that he is getting kick backs from all the jobs of purchases, renovations and consultancies etc.

    b) Mr. Razi Ur Rahman got approved the Promotion Procedure from the Commission and did not get its approval from the Policy Board, which was mandatory as per Securities and Exchange Commission Act. He implemented the illegal Promotion Procedure in haste and promoted his blue eyed officers without taking into the generally recognized principle of “Seniority cum fitness”. He promoted his favorites who were very junior in seniority in the ranks and also paid a full gross salary as promotion bonus. Although there is no provision of Promotion Bonus in the Rules and Laws of SECP.

    c) He got appointed to Mr. Ashraf Tiwana (one of his favorites) as Director/Registrar, who had been declared disqualified during the interview for the post of Director (SM) by the Selection Committee some months back. However, in order to accommodate him a new post of Registrar Appellate Bench was created and he was appointed as Director/Registrar on very high salary from the back date and also paid 3 gross salaries as honorarium too.

    d) Mr. Razi belongs to Karachi and spends every weekends and also 3 working days there at the cost of SECP money. He receives TA/DA and air passage for these visits and periods. He stays in his own residence there and receives Daily Allowance. Since his appointment as Chairman SECP, he hardly stayed at Islamabad during the weekends. The computerized record of attendance will easily confirm this fact.

    e) He is also sending his favorite employees on foreign tours at his own discretion without formal process of nominations. Even he facilitates in making the private visits of his most favorites converting it into as official visit, sending them on official tours and also attaching leave with the tours. The big example is Ms. Amber Dar Ex-Executive Director (Law) who also belonged to Karachi. She enjoyed her personal visits of UK every year making it as official tours, attaching leave with it. There are several other similar cases, which can be verified from the record.

    f) Ms. Zaib Shahdani, Assistant Director is also an example. She is very close to Mr. Razi Ur Rahman (who is a divorced man un-luckily). She has also paid several foreign visits including UK, China, Korea and India etc. The record will provide the complete details of her visits.

    g) Mr. Razi is also granting rewards to his favorite employees lavishly. He got approved three gross salaries for all the two Commissioners amounting to Rs. 3400,000. Also managed to enhance his and Commissioners salaries to Rs. 5,55,000 per month from Rs. 3, 50,000/- per month with effect from 01-01-2007, with increase of more than 50 percent. He paid full gross salaries as honorarium to all his other favorites like Mr. Ashraf Tiwana, Registrar (3 gross salaries), Miss. Shane (one gross salary) etc. He is employing his favorites on very high salaries like Mr. Zafar Abdullah Executive Director (Rs. 3,42,000 per month), Mr. Mansur Ahsan Executive Director (Rs. 3,10,000 per month, whose deficiency of qualification has also been waived off at the time of appointment) and Mr. Panjwani Director (Rs. 2,00,000 per month) etc. The record of Accounts Department will provide all the details. In short he is looting the exchequer of Securities and Exchange Commission with both hands like “Mallay Muft Dillay Bayreham”.

    h) Mr. Razi Ur Rahman is receiving kick backs in all deals and affairs of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, whether it is matter of purchases or renovation of building or engaging of consultants. Interestingly he gives all work to the consultants of Karachi even he also engaged Legal Advisor from Karachi although the Head Office is located in Islamabad. He is severely prejudiced with the employees who are not from Urdu Speaking Community or from Karachi. Presently Traika comprising Mr. Razi Ur Rahman, Mr. Javed K. Siddiqui and Mr. Mansur Ahsan (All belongs to Karachi Urdu Speaking Community) is ruling the SECP. He is also spending 2,50,000/- per month on his own security although the same was never been done by the ex-Chairmen of SECP. Both the Commissioners have been bribed giving them high salaries and three gross salaries as honorarium. Hence, they are keeping their eyes closed on the looting of public money by Mr. Razi Ur Rahman.

    i) These are some examples if a thorough investigation is conducted, several similar cases will certainly come in the lime light.

    j) Mr. Razi Ur Rehman is not only fully bulldozing the rules and regulations of SECP, but also using the public money in order to please his favorites. He is in fact looting the public exchequer very lavishly.

    k) The list of mal-practices and dishonesty at the part of Mr. Razi Ur Rehman is very long during his 1st year of appointment and if he is not checked and removed immediately, the public exchequer of SECP and organization will suffer irreparable loss.

    l) Mr. Razi Ur Rahman is making hiring of his favorites against different posts on very high salaries and perks, but the existing regular employees who have been performing the similar jobs for years are being victimized although they have given the cream of their lives to SECP. Their perks/facilities are being withdrawn gradually and contract employees hired by Mr. Razi are being favored lavishly in the form of high salaries, expensive cars and bonuses etc. Recently he hired Directors, Joint Directors and Deputy Directors for Securities Market Division of SECP. The posts were advertised, but without short-listing of other candidates some favorite candidates were interviewed and all of them were offered the jobs on very high salaries. He has also got amendment in Selection Committee Rules and decided if he interviews a candidate directly, there will be no need of interview by Selection Committee. The interesting point is that he violates the Selection Committees as approved by the Commission.

    m) The employees who do not obey his illegal and irregular instructions are always discouraged and insulted frequently. Consequently they are resigning, causing brain-drainage out of talented manpower. All the Executive Directors who were hired on merit by the ex-Chairman SECP have been compelled to resign. Recently four Directors and several Joint Directors, Dy Directors and Assistant Directors have resigned because of hopeless, discriminately treatment and disappointing environment created by Mr. Razi Ur Rahman. Several times news articles have been published in the leading daily newspapers on similar mal-practices of Mr. Razi Ur Rahman, but surprisingly no investigation has been conducted or any authority even tried to know the facts.

    It is therefore requested to take notice of the situation immediately in the interest of Nation and advise to competent forums like NAB etc to conduct a detailed probe of the situation in Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to save the public exchequer which is factually being looted with both hands by Mr. Razi ur Rehman, Chairman SECP and his favorites. The name of Mr. Razi and his allies may also please be placed in Exit Control List otherwise it is strong possibility that they will leave the country immediately in order to avoid the accountability.

    Yours Faithfully

    Employees of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan

  51. Ikram Ullah says:
    April 21st, 2007 8:37 am

    Now Mush is saying there is no deal and BB saying maybe there is. Maybe they are negotiating through press statements.

    Whatever we think of Mr. Hussain Haqqani, I hope BB takes his advise and stays away from this deal because it is not good for her or Pakistan. The results of you Poll on this shows this clearly.

  52. Wasiq Ali says:
    April 21st, 2007 10:49 am

    Obviously Ikram Ullah does not see the irony of saying virtually that he sees no good in PPP and does not care much for Husain Haqqani’s “political scruples” and then expressing the wish that BB takes Haqqani’s advice.

    Why care what PPP and BB do if they are no good? How can HH be giving good advice if he is lacking in “political scruples.”

    Problem is, armchair politics and high-sounding “political scruples” talk is easy; Getting into the game and playing it is tough.

    Sometimes we get stuck about some things, and people. Eveents move on. In case of BB, some people are stuck on allegations of corruption that Mush and Co failed to prove in courts of law, forcing them to negotiate with her instead. In case of Mr. Haqqani, some of us can’t forget that he worked with Nawaz Sharif 20 years ago, before working with BB 14-15 years ago. For that we won’t even show respect for his intellectual acheivements of the last 10-12 years that he has not been in power.

    Maybe we need to recognize that politics is a dynamic process. Things move, people move. Allegations are made, sometimes true, sometimes not so true. Individuals are not perfect and make errors of judgement, which they subsquently either rectify or fail to rectify.

    Let us try and discuss, in detail, what is or is not in the country’s interest now and why.

    I feel that a deal that opens the way for a transition to democracy will be good for Pakistan. If the deal is only to help BB and Mush save their skins then it is bad.

  53. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 21st, 2007 6:24 pm

    Here is another view. Though I don’t agree with the author’s assertion that there won’t be a deal, he does say some interesting things.

    The Matrix
    (The nation, april 22, 2007)
    Humayun Gauhar
    They’re quite hilarious really, our friends the Pipliyas of the People’s Party. Life would be so boring without them, though I can assure you that they
    are going nowhere just yet, unless, of course, Benazir tangos with General Musharraf, which is unlikely, for the soldier-gentleman won’t dance with her.
    So relax. We will continue to be diverted by the Pipliyas for some time yet.
    In my last article called ‘Leadership’, I said that the president cannot withdraw the cases against Benazir since they are effectively the ‘People versus
    Ms Bhutto’. If he does, any citizen can take the government to court, for at the end of the day the money that has been looted belongs to every citizen.
    (The president can pardon people, but only after conviction, as he did Nawaz Sharif, and that too is a conditional pardon.
    And in a country that chooses to constitutionally call itself an “Islamic Republicâ€

  54. fakhruddin usmani says:
    April 21st, 2007 7:49 pm

    The deal has already been finalised but is being kept secret and will be known just on the day of election or nomination of president of Pakistan.. SHOO just keep it a secret.

  55. zjan says:
    April 21st, 2007 7:52 pm

    [Re. Humayun Gauhar article above]
    He is a sweet but quite crazy guy! Mad as a matter. So interesting that you take him seriously – no-one in Pakistan does. Zjan

  56. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 22nd, 2007 2:40 am

    haa haa

    I knew this would provoke such an angry response, but how is he more crazy than the diehard jialas?

  57. Samdani says:
    April 22nd, 2007 2:47 am

    Back to the original article by Mr. Haqqani, no mater what onethinks of him the analysis is interesting and it could be a distraction tactic. That does make a lot of sense.

    The only problem I see there is that it does not explain why BB also seems to be sugesting that there IS a deal?

  58. Aqil Sajjad says:
    April 22nd, 2007 3:38 am

    That ‘only problem’ is a big one.

    As for why the deal continues to be elusive, the reason is the serious divergence between the demands on both sides. Apparently, Musharraf has been wanting BB to give up her pursuit for the position of PM and accept a role similar to Sohnia Gandhi’s, while PPP has been unwilling to settle for anything less than BB’s return to PM house. Otherwise, PPP could have formed a govt with Makhdoom Fahim the PM after the 2002 polls.
    The other divergence of course is on the uniform issue, on which Musharraf has been totally uncompromising, but whether this is a negotiable point for PPP is not clear, we might find that out in the coming months.

  59. Ahmad R. Shaid says:
    April 22nd, 2007 8:50 am

    As opposed to the view of the majority on this forum, I think such a deal would be good for the country in the long run. I neither support Musharraf or Benazir, in fact in the election would vote for NS, but stil think it would be good for the country.

    The case in point is Burma. Long misruled by the military junta, for over forty years now, and the adamant approach of its main opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma is still there where it was 40 years before. The complete return to the rule of law, democracy, extermination of corruption, in one go is impossible to say the least. Thus expecting that things would become ideal in Pakistan in one go is rather too idealistic to be taken seriously.

    Why the deal would be better?

    1) It would take at least some power away from the military, which in my view far surpasses political parties in corruption. In fact corruption within the military has been institutionalized to the extent that many don’t even consider occupation of land by the military as corruption.

    2) It would bring back the two main opposition leaders. No matter how one hates them they are popular and given a fair chance would emerge as the leading parties in any election. Denying them that right, by force or any law, would tantamount to the betrayal of the public trust and would achieve nothing in the long run apart from making idealists laugh a bit, before they realize the folly of such an act. If they have to be thrown out, either people must do it through their votes, or let them rot to their bare bones in their graves. Any other solution would be disastrous.

    3) It would give some breathing space to the secular parties and take some air out of the balloons of the religious parties that have basically thrived on the incapability of the mainstream parties to garner support among the masses due to the exile of its leaders.

    4) Remaining stuck to your views achieves nothing. Compromise is the best way forward. That would bring slow and gradual change rather than quick and harsh change that would benefit none.

  60. zjan says:
    April 22nd, 2007 9:09 am

    Ahmed Shaid raises some excellent points. Thank you so much for raising the level of the discourse. Your comparison with Burma is a good one. Salme

  61. Wasiq Ali says:
    April 22nd, 2007 10:36 am

    BB has not said there is a deal.

    She has said there are contacts.

    That is what Haqqani is saying: That Musharraf is muddying the political waters by calling contacts a done deal.

    BB is right in establishing and maintaining contacts. Was it Napoleon who said even warring armies should have achannel of communication? And BB and Mush need not be warring armies.

    On another blog, someone posted the editorial by Najam Sethi (Friday Times), who claims he knows the details of the deal. Someone else read sethi’s article and wrote:

    “SO help me understand this. Musharraf “will try and strengthen his current PMLQ-led grand national alliance by all means so that Ms Bhutto doesn’t sweep the electionsâ€

  62. Ahmad R. Shaid says:
    April 22nd, 2007 10:45 am

    Thank you zjan for your kind comments.

  63. April 22nd, 2007 4:34 pm

    Benazir bhutto wants to get rid of all the cases which if processed religously can end her political career. To do a deal she is using his masters sitting in US while assuring that she will do more than Musharraf to promote american policies.

    Musharaff wants to prolong his rule by hook and crook. If he can appoint a governer who was once booked for number of murders and other cronies for number of cases then rest assure he can delete cases against benazir & party from NAB memory.

    Hussain Haqqani is a part of Neocon supported RAND Corporation which draws the policies for famous One World Order. So dont expect from him to act sincere about pakistan bcoz he is being paid hefty amount to promote neocon policies.

    Pakistan is infact a independent country where there is no rule of law. You can do anything what so ever legal or illegal on the basis of power / money. So please dont expect from rulers to act sincere.

    Please act as independent citizen if you can:)

  64. Issam Ahmed says:
    April 22nd, 2007 5:18 pm

    My dream…
    A “deal” could be good for Pakistan IF it ensures that the constitution is not mauled any further. The PPPP can share Govt benches but a leader other than BB must be Prime Minister, she, her husband and also the Sharifs carry too much negative baggage. A liberal and secular coalition Govt that is not corrupt would be a dream Govt, the PPPP can provide the idealogy and the PML(N) the governance, thumbs up to Shahbaz as a Deputy PM.

    The General (then Retired) can serve as a President with stage presence but no powers. No other retired generals to be given significant political or bureaucratic office. Imran Khan should be found a job as Home Minister or Muhtasib, this leaves a vacancy for the PM and FM jobs which would be filled after the Parliaments fairly elected seats have been counted. The remaining Federal Ministeries, Secretariats, GHQ, MI and ISI should be brutally pruned and brought under strict Parliamentary control. The Police made to know and to respect the Law (A test for Khan sahib).

    For this Term the obscurantists and the nationalist bigots should be kept within a strong democratic Opposition where they can keep a check on Military and Feudal corruption. In future terms they can take over should the public vote for them or even take over now (but hopefully this is unlikely). A country does always deserve the Government it elects.

    Judges should be kept far away from the Executive, no more “Acting” Governors and Presidents, Chairmen or other bureaucratic titles, perks, public engagements or motorcades and flags.

    A few years of this followed by another fair election and democracy could be underway.

  65. Jeevay Pakistan says:
    April 22nd, 2007 8:28 pm

    I have met Haqqani and read most of what he has written and he is no Neo-con…….You seem to be a bit of a conspiracy theorist. It must be flattering for Mr. Haqqani that he is being placed in the same company as a military dictator cum president and a former twice elected PM. I though he was a thinker. writer and strategist! You guys are really inventive man! Neo-con? Hah! Perhaps Qazi Sahib is more your speed and Hamid Gul???

  66. Wasiq Ali says:
    April 22nd, 2007 8:29 pm

    Independent Citizen’s comments reflect the sad conspiracy theory mentality that has prevented Pakistanis and Muslims from being able to analyse and face realities.

    many pakistanis want good relations with Pakistan not because they are paid by anyone but because they think it is in Pakistan’s interest.

    Benazir Bhutto has won two elections and received millions of votes from Pakistanis. it is an insult to BB’s voters to accuse her of being an American stooge, implying that millions of Pakistanis vote for an American stooge.

    Husain Haqqani is one of a few Pakistani scholars to have international recognition. He has never worked for RAND –a fact easily verified by a little reserach.

    But conspiracy theorists never do any research, do they?

  67. Daktar says:
    April 22nd, 2007 10:03 pm

    I find the discussion funny. Why are we discussing Mr. Haqqani so much. Is he really that important? Also, amazed how come his ‘fan club’ seems to know so much about him and his thoughts and thinking process!

  68. SalMa says:
    April 22nd, 2007 10:23 pm

    Another interesting article on the deal from New Pakistan (http://www.new-pakistan.com). this subject obviously generates quite a lot of points of views.

    Issue No 30, April 6, 2007

    Fearful of Bhutto’s Impending Return, Musharraf Floats Rumors of Deal

    No Deal Likely Unless Musharraf Agrees to Give up Uniform, Withdraw Cases and Hold Free Polls under Caretaker Administration; PPP Offers Musharraf ‘Safe Passage’

    By Sadiq Saleem

    With domestic opposition rising and international support dwindling, General Pervez Musharraf has resorted to what he always does when he is under fire: He has run for cover and resorted to spin.

    Once again Pakistan is awash in rumors that Musharraf’s emissaries and Opposition stalwart Benazir Bhutto are on the verge of a deal. The rumors began when the government transferred an official who had been pursuing corruption cases against Ms Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Although the said official has been transferred before, and his transfer is not the same as withdrawal of cases, the government propaganda machine made a big deal of the matter and claimed it was the first step to gain Ms Bhutto’s confidence for a deal.

    According to media reports Mr. Tariq Aziz, a top aide of General Musharraf and secretary of his National Security Council, met with Ms Bhutto in Dubai. Ms Bhutto did not deny the meeting but said that the talks were of “routine” nature. As a politician, Ms Bhutto says she will not refuse to meet with any representative of a Pakistani political force but each meeting does not translate into an agreement.

    The rumors of a deal suited General Musharraf. They took attention away from the crisis generated by the suspension of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and mounting international criticism over growing Talibanization in the country.

    General Musharraf has only recently reshuffled his media team and brought back Anwar Mehmood as Information Secretary. Mr. Mehmood is an expert at creating distractions as a means of changing the major story in the media and is considered particularly valuable for the establishment’s management of corrupt elements within the media. It is believed that Mr. Mehmood suggested using the Musharraf-Bhutto deal story both to change the subject as well as to defuse the growing attention in the international media to Ms Bhutto.

    Only a few days ago, the New York Times had written: “As the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf, wrestles with swelling public disaffection over his rule, one of his key political rivals, Benazir Bhutto, has embarked on an international campaign to revive her political standing. In recent weeks, Bhutto, 53, a former prime minister and the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who has lived in exile since 1999, has stepped up her criticism of the Taliban who operate in the remote regions of the country. She has sought to marginalize Islamist political parties from an opposition party alliance that has emerged in anticipation of elections later this year. “

    By spreading rumors of a deal with Ms Bhutto, General Musharraf expected to give the impression that greater acceptance in the United States of Ms Bhutto does not mean he is on his way out.
    The rumors of the deal created panic in the king’s Party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), which would be left high and dry if Musharraf and the intelligence services do not continue to act as its sponsors. PML-Q President, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, tried to score points with wittily suggesting that Instead of deal the PPP was receiving dheel (Urdu for being set loose).

    The PPP’s ally, the PML-N led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also got worried at the prospect of an agreement between Musharraf and Bhutto. The PPP leader went and met her former rival to reassure him that no deal with the Musharraf regime was in the offing.

    Once the initial thrust of the government’s spin effort was over it became clear that Ms Bhutto and the PPP are not interested in a deal that does not restore democracy to Pakistan. Ms Bhutto is not too concerned about the cases filed against her to intimidate her. She would welcome their withdrawal but she has fought them valiantly so far –and her husband Asif Ali Zardari has spent eight and a half years in prison without being sentencedâ€

  69. April 23rd, 2007 1:11 pm

    Husain Haqqani is a rank opportunist and is quite an immoral person, no matter his “political insight.” Insight is garbage without morality!

  70. Wasiq says:
    April 23rd, 2007 4:56 pm

    Daktar has come up with the ultimate conspiracy theory. Mr. Haqqani is writing all these comments against and in favor of himself to become important.

    Let Peace Reign is moral and, therefore, has all the insight. Too bad we don’t know who he is otherwise we could all annoint him our great leader and thinker.

    C’mon guys and gals, we can do better than that.

    Let us get back to the debate over whether there is a deal or not and whether it is in the country’s interest or not.

    My father keeps telling me that blogging is for those who just want to voice opinions, not for those who want to exchange ideas in the hope of learning something and possibly changing their minds.

    Is he right?

  71. Daktar says:
    April 24th, 2007 1:02 am

    Wah… woh baat saarey fasanay may jis ka zikr na tha!

    Dear Wasiq, you seem to be seeing onspiracies everwhere!

    The thought that Mr. Haqqani would be himself engineering the mesages in his support had never even crossed my mind; until you mentioned it. Whatever one thinks of him, I am quite sure that he has better things to do than that; so should you and I :-)

  72. Ibrahim says:
    April 24th, 2007 8:43 am

    I agree with Daktar. No need to discuss any writer so much.

    I also agree with Wasiq. No need to condemn one writer for his past political role or being lota when

    Iss hammam main sub nangay hain

    Ardeshir Cowasjee was adviser in Ziaul Haq martial law government. Now he writes like he is Mr. Saaf Shaffaf.

    Ayaz Amir was minister in Shehbaz Sharif Punjab government. He doesn’t even talk about that in his columns.

    Maleeha Lodhi was ambassador under Benazir and then Leghari. Then she became editor again. Then she became ambassador under Musharraf. How is that for being lota?

    Najam Sethi of Friday Times was Minister in Leghari chairtaker.

    Irshad Ahmed Haqqani of Jang was once Jamatia, then became liberal. He also was information minister in Leghari chairtaker.

    Nazir Naji was in PPP then with Nawaz Sharif.

    Haroon Family of Dawn has also been in every government, Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq even Governorship of Sindh under Benazir Bhutto.

    Etc. Etc.

  73. April 24th, 2007 11:10 am

    Actually, what is required is free and fair elections but that is too much to expect given past experience. No elections were as close to being fair as the 1970 elections but then the PPP who signed the Legal Framework Order and participated in the elections on that basis did not attend the National Assembly session called in March 1971, which eventually led to the break up of Pakistan, as per the movement “yahan hum and wahan tum,â€

  74. ali says:
    July 28th, 2007 9:25 pm

    just as george bush attacking iraq made things worse for america this can only help pakistan. this will show how bad musharraf and benazir bhutto really are. i think this will open the eyes of the public and hopefully the good forces can now come out. i think all the people who care abt in parties such as the ppp, pml n, mqm, jamaat, and pti shud form an alliance. they shud stand up against benazir bhutto, musharraf, nawaz sharif, and altaf hussain. these people are a big part of the failing of our country. they have platforms and bogus visions to take the dignity out of our people and the nation. people shud resent forces not because they are liberal or they are religious, they shud stand up for whats right. maybe its not out there right now but thats how things change. people are usually scared of the word revolution, and they shud be, we have seen bloody revolutions. The CJ of pakistan in my view is now the most powerful person in Pakistan, it will be up to him, was the fight for the independence of the judiciary worth it or not? If he fails this task Pakistan will have gone back 50 years and the credibility he and the judiciary had earned will be short lived.

  75. ANNIE says:
    October 14th, 2007 10:25 am

    this is the col picture.aisa lagta hai jaise in dono ki shaddi ho gai hai.in dono ne kursi ke liye mar jana hai

  76. brianna says:
    November 16th, 2007 10:25 am

    wow. this website is verry interesting.. i think you should e mail more to me so i can show it to me other friends back where i live. e mail me anything about this cuz i like it.

  77. brianna says:
    November 16th, 2007 10:26 am

    i really like these pictures. they are a lot cooler than the other websites..

  78. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 30th, 2007 7:09 am

    @ Mushy, BB deal done ,

    Fazlurtaliban is a leftist kebab mein haddi,

    left is soldout Marxists/seculars/liberals marchandise
    to be auctioned.

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