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Benazir and Mesharraf deal

It seems the recent meeting between General Musharraf and former Primer Minister Benazir Bhutto in Dubai led to an agreement between them, steps of which are being played out now. The Pakistani media is buzzing with the news of a compromise that will allow Benazir to come back without the threat of cases against her, and in turn, Musharraf will be able to get re-elected, and in an important question, remain as Army Chief. This last point is very critical for Musharraf, given that power in Pakistan literally flows from the barrel of a gun, and there is no other position as secure in Pakistan as the Army Chief. The one who holds the army controls the policy making and is always in a position to bring down the Government.
But, Benazir is not going to have it easy. She has had the reputation of being a fighter when in the opposition, and to suddenly make a deal with the President is going to cause a lot of her supporters to scratch their heads and wonder whether this was a right or wrong thing to do. For sure, other parties are not going to be very supportive of her. She seems to have made the first step to arrive back in the country:

A Pakistani high court ordered authorities to withdraw a request to Interpol to issue arrest warrants for exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, her lawyer said. Last year, the government had asked Interpol to issue arrest warrants for Bhutto after the government filed a complaint with a lower court that she had misreported her assets to election authorities in 1996.
Farooq Naik, Bhutto’s lawyer, said he had petitioned the High Court in Karachi that the government’s request for arrest warrants be declared unlawful because the lower court had already thrown out the government’s complaint. Musharraf, who is passing through the most weakest phase of his eight-year rule after the Supreme Court reinstated country’s chief justice he had tried to sack four months ago, met secretly with Bhutto this month in Abu Dhabi. Bhutto has said she could work with Musharraf but insisted that he should resign from the military.

Such things normally would not happen unless the arrangement has been sanctioned by the army. This would make a major come-back for Benazir, bringing her back within striking distance of gaining power in the country. Just a short while back, it seemed like that she was on permanent exile, with frequent talk of how her corruption proceeds are being uncovered, and she would be arrested on sight; but in politics, nothing is as it appears to be.

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