A political alliance between President Pervez Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazhir Bhutto for Pakistan’s forthcoming elections is looking increasingly likely. There are rumours of an imminent or even a done deal. According to the New York Times the US is reportedly pushing Musharraf to shore up his political support with the help of Mrs Bhutto.
The White House is open about its own position. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Sean McCormack, said: “We don’t choose favourites in political parties. We don’t choose favourite candidates. That’s for the Pakistanis to decide. We do have the opinion that it is important for Pakistan’s future that there is a political centre of political moderates.”
The President and Mrs Bhutto met last month in Abu Dhabi amid mounting chaos in Pakistan but insiders claim she is demanding he give up his army uniform. “General Musharraf says and has committed himself to a Pakistan following a moderate path,” said Mrs Bhutto. “To that extent, if we could get the moderate forces to work together for a transition to democracy I think, in the present circumstances, it would be helpful.”
A senior government minister has told Pakistan’s press that Bhutto’s comments on Musharraf’s position as army chief are just political posturing but that the president is thinking about the issue.