View Full Version : This could be the best news in the WoT in 5 years...

08-23-2007, 12:12 PM

Bhutto details Musharraf deal

Pakistan's Bhutto Details Possible Power-Sharing Deal With Musharraf

AP News

Aug 22, 2007 12:00 EDT

Former premier Benazir Bhutto has detailed for the first time a plan to keep Pakistan's U.S.-allied president in office under a power-sharing deal she said would strengthen the fight against terrorism.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is seeking a new five-year presidential term but faces mounting pressure to step down as army chief and restore democracy, eight years after he seized power in a coup.

In remarks broadcast Tuesday, Bhutto outlined an agreement that would reduce Musharraf's power while allowing her to return from exile _ and perhaps to government.

"So we're not trying to bail out a military dictator by saying we will come there on your terms. What we are seeking is a compromise that could help bring about a stable, democratic, civilian order," Bhutto said on PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."

"What we're negotiating for are certain changes that will empower the Parliament to take on the militants," she said.

A deal with Bhutto offers Musharraf a chance to fend off challenges to his continued rule and make good on pledges to combat the Taliban and al-Qaida, viewed with growing skepticism in Washington and other NATO capitals with troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

However, he has given no clear indication that he will make concessions demanded by Bhutto, including quitting the powerful post of army chief.

Musharraf's spokesman was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Bhutto said Musharraf had to lift a ban on twice-elected prime ministers _ such as herself and another exiled former leader, Nawaz Sharif _ from serving again.

Graft charges against herself and other ex-officials must be dropped, she said. Both Bhutto and Sharif have vowed to return to Pakistan this year, further raising the political temperature.

Sharif has asked the Supreme Court to ensure he is not arrested or deported on arrival.

Government lawyers on Wednesday gave the court a copy of what they said was the pledge signed in 2003 by Sharif that he would leave Pakistan for 10 years. In return, the government released him from a jail sentence and let him leave for Saudi Arabia.

The government denied Sharif had been forced into exile and said he would be "dealt with in accordance with law" if he came back.

Sharif acknowledged the "understanding" with Saudi Arabia, but denied any agreement with Musharraf. "I think all their talk is absolutely fraud and drama," he told Geo TV in a telephone interview from Germany.

Bhutto said Musharraf must also explain how organizers will prevent parliamentary elections to be held by January from being "stolen in the field" and give back to Parliament some of the sweeping powers he took after ousting Sharif in 1999.

Asked what she was offering in return, Bhutto sketched a path through the legal labyrinth that other opposition parties insist preclude Musharraf's staying in power.

"There are going to be two presidential elections. The first presidential election is going to take place in September, when General Musharraf is still wearing the (military) uniform," Bhutto said.

While her Pakistan People's Party could not vote for him while he remains army chief, she suggested it would endorse him later if he gives up that post.

"If the (parliamentary) elections are fair, and we have a level playing field, and he seeks re-election from the next assembly, then certainly the Parliament can consider that, if the uniform is not there," she said.

Bhutto blamed the military-led government for spreading extremism in Pakistan, but avoided direct criticism of Musharraf.

She accused senior officials of "collusion" with militants and said Parliament needed the power to act "without being destabilized by elements of the security apparatus who do not wish to see the terrorists and the extremists contained."

Asked about comments by U.S. officials suggesting American forces could attack al-Qaida targets in Pakistan, Bhutto said she opposed "unauthorized military action that violates Pakistan's sovereignty.

"But at the same time, I recognize that, unless the government of Pakistan is able to take control of its own territories, Pakistan will face the danger of outside military strikes."

Bhutto warned Musharraf to take concrete steps toward democratic reform by the end of August to keep a power-sharing deal on track or face a united opposition.

"At the end of the day, we can't afford to be contaminated by his unpopularity without getting the prize for democracy," she said.

Source: AP News

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08-23-2007, 09:34 PM
Is this just such a potentially good thing that we all agree and no one dare agree in the DC?

Or is this too subtle an potential event to see how great this could be.

08-24-2007, 06:23 AM
Is this just such a potentially good thing that we all agree and no one dare agree in the DC?

Or is this too subtle an potential event to see how great this could be.

We were just sitting back to see if you'd bump your own thread like you always seem to do when you don't get responses. :p

FWIW, I think this could be a very good thing so I don't have anything to argue about with you on this point.

go bo
08-26-2007, 07:04 PM
sweet mary...

i wonder if he'd pay me if i dressed up in an alternate user name and bumped his threads for him...

08-26-2007, 07:31 PM
Jiz. Heh.

08-26-2007, 07:55 PM
Nothing for me to argue with, seems like a potentially great development

08-26-2007, 08:00 PM
FWIW, I think this could be a very good thing so I don't have anything to argue about with you on this point.

Holy shit. Patteeu's on his deathbed! Man, why didn't you say something?

08-26-2007, 08:03 PM
If it moves forward the removal of terrorist hiding in Wester Pakistan /Eastern Afganistan it's worth it.

08-27-2007, 06:34 AM
Holy shit. Patteeu's on his deathbed! Man, why didn't you say something?

I think you ought to be even more surprised that jAZ is agreeing with the Bush administration (http://www.slate.com/id/2172327/fr/rss/). :shrug:

08-29-2007, 12:10 PM
More good news.


Bhutto: Musharraf to quit as army chief

AP Interview: Bhutto Expects Musharraf to Quit As Military Chief Before Next Presidential Vote

AP News

Aug 29, 2007 13:14 EDT

Pakistan's exiled former prime minister said Wednesday that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had agreed to step down as military chief in a move she expected before the next presidential election.

Such an agreement would be a key step forward in political negotiations for a power-sharing deal with the opposition.

Benazir Bhutto, who has been engaged in talks with Musharraf on a power-sharing deal, also said corruption charges would be dropped against her and dozens of other lawmakers as part of the negotiations to restore civilian rule.

Bhutto, a two-time prime minister who left Pakistan in 1999 to avoid a government collapse, represents Pakistan's main opposition party.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press from London, she confirmed reports that Musharraf had agreed to step down as military chief.

"We're very pleased that Gen. Musharraf has taken the decision to listen to the people of Pakistan by taking the decision to take off the uniform," Bhutto told the AP. "I expected that he will step down (as army chief) before the presidential elections, but that is for the president to say."

Earlier, a close Musharraf ally, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, confirmed the two sides had reached an agreement regarding Musharraf's military role. "Both sides have agreed on the issue of uniform," he told reporters.

Envoys for the U.S.-allied president have been trying to work out a pact with Bhutto that would rescue his bid for another five-year presidential term.

Bhutto and other opposition leaders argue the constitution obliges Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, to give up his post as military chief before he asks lawmakers for a fresh mandate in September or October.

However, Musharraf has insisted the constitution allows him to remain in uniform until the end of 2007 and has left open what will happen after that.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Casey would not comment directly on the reports that Musharraf and Bhutto had come to a deal.

"Our principal concern in Pakistan is that there be free, fair and transparent elections held in which all legitimate political forces in the country have an opportunity to participate," Casey said. "We certainly want to see the Pakistanis have an electoral process that results in a government that they feel represents their interests."

Musharraf has seen his authority erode since March, when he tried unsuccessfully to remove the Supreme Court's top judge. The move triggered protests that grew into a broad campaign against his continued rule.

The court reinstated the judge in July, raising expectations that it will uphold legal challenges to Musharraf's re-election. The court on Wednesday admitted a petition filed by Qazi Hussain Ahmad, head of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party, against Musharraf's dual role as president and military chief.

Last week, the court ruled that Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister toppled in 1999 who is also living in exile, can return to Pakistan ahead of parliamentary elections due by January.

Sharif quickly denounced Musharraf as a dictator who must be removed from the political scene.

In an interview published in Wednesday's Financial Times, Sharif said he would return before the start of the holy month of Ramadan in mid-September.

Government threats to arrest him on charges dating back to the coup would strengthen his support, he said.

"Today the people, civil society, the judiciary, the political forces and the media are on one side, and the dictator and his shrinking support are on the other side," Sharif was quoted as saying.

He said he felt "let down by the United States," which he has accused of confusing Musharraf's interests with those of Pakistan as a nation.

Musharraf urged Sharif on Wednesday to abide by an agreement he signed in 2000 to spend a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia in exchange for his release from a jail term.

Sharif should "show character and not violate the agreement," Musharraf said, according to the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency.

The prospect of Sharif making a tumultuous return has added to the urgency of an accommodation between Musharraf and Bhutto, who share a relatively liberal, pro-Western outlook and stress the need to prevent the political crisis from destabilizing the nuclear-armed nation.

"I can foresee the external and internal threats and the vested interests that want to create an atmosphere of uncertainty, and urge the people to be wary of it," Musharraf said.

Musharraf had vowed to prevent either former leader from re-entering Pakistan.

He blames them for the corruption and economic problems that nearly bankrupted the country in the 1990s, when Bhutto and Sharif each had two short-lived turns as prime minister.

But with the United States pressing for more democracy as well as a redoubled effort against al-Qaida and Taliban militants near the Afghan border, Musharraf recently began calling for political reconciliation and an alliance of moderates to defeat extremists.

Ahmed, the railways minister, said an understanding between Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and Musharraf was expected to be finalized this week.

An accord is expected to include constitutional amendments to allow Musharraf to continue as president and lift bars to Bhutto again becoming prime minister.

Source: AP News