Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Musharraf and Bhutto Make Key Progress: Musharraf To Quit as Army Chief

Posted by K.E. White on August 29, 2007

Summary: It seems the Musharraf-Bhutto alliance is nearly complete. With Musharraf giving it his role as top military general, a key hurdle is removed. Musharraf’s desired end: another term as President.

From The Age:

MusharrafPakistan‘s leading English-language newspaper, Dawn, said sources close to the President had confirmed he had offered to retire from the army, the main source of his authority, before being re-elected as a civilian president next month and general elections early next year.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who held talks with General Musharraf on Monday, said: “The President has made up his mind on his uniform. He’ll make an announcement at an appropriate time.”

Mrs Bhutto said that in this week’s talks General Musharraf placed a new issue on the negotiating table by seeking her support over his eligibility to be re-elected.

General Musharraf, faced by an increasingly bold Supreme Court, has asked Mrs Bhutto to support a constitutional amendment allowing him to be re-elected.

Mrs Bhutto said the Government would have to make “an upfront gesture of reciprocity, a clear indication of political support for the Pakistan People’s Party”.

Voice of America also reports on the emerging deal, which is a political risk for both Musharraf and Bhutto:

Pakistan railway minister and presidential confidante Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told reporters the deal has almost been finalized.

Former Prime Minister Bennazir Bhutto has sought to end Pervez Musharraf’s dual role as president and army chief before any possible agreement.

Benazir BhuttoThe possible deal comes as popular support for the president is at an all-time low and legal challenges to his re-election intensify.

Ms. Bhutto has seen her own political fortunes decline in recent weeks. She faces charges of political opportunism and hypocrisy after negotiating with her rival, President Musharraf.

A second former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, insists the president must step down for the good of the country. President Musharraf exiled Mr. Sharif to Saudi Arabia in 2000, a year after seizing power in a military coup.

This is a high stakes gamble, especially for American security. Musharraf, despite key flaws, has been a key ally and stable leader in a volatile, Muslim and nuclear nation. A calm transition in Pakistan, as opposed to civil strife with the specter of Islamic radicals, is a critical for regional and international security.

But the natural question remains: Will this deal be acceptable to the Pakistani public and, perhaps more importantly, the Pakistani military?

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One Response to “Musharraf and Bhutto Make Key Progress: Musharraf To Quit as Army Chief”

  1. retro said

    Go Colbert! As wacky and wierd as he is, I’d vote for him.

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