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Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role

Posted by Delbert on July 30th, 2007

Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role

· Joint rule seen as best way to beat extremists
· Deal could rescue beleaguered general

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
Monday July 30, 2007
The Guardian

Pakistans exiled opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, has said she can share power with President Pervez Musharraf, but only if he quits as army chief.

Ms Bhuttos comments, in a television interview, followed a secret meeting with General Musharraf on Friday in the United Arab Emirates. Confirmation of the encounter by a cabinet minister intensified media speculation on the future of Pakistans troubled government. “Deal done, sealed,” said one newspaper headline.

But there was little hard information about what transpired in the meeting, which followed months of quiet negotiations. The sticking point appears to be whether Gen Musharraf can retain his dual role as president and head of the army. In an interview with the local KTN station late on Saturday, Ms Bhutto said: “We do not accept President Musharraf in uniform. Our stand is that, and I stick to my stand.”

Article continues
In theory, a deal would make sense for both leaders. Gen Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999, wants to remain as president after elections due within the next six months. But after a series of political bungles and rising Islamist violence, he is unpopular and isolated.

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Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role

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