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Govt in touch with Benazir

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    Govt in touch with Benazir

    ISLAMABAD - The military government is reported to have established a reliable line of contact with former prime minister and Pakistan People's Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto and is in an advanced stage of negotiations which may lead to a deal under which her husband Asif Ali Zardari will be released and a firm date for general elections will be announced.

    A report in the English daily Pakistan Observer, quoted "highly reliable military sources" as saying that the government of General Pervez Musharraf had opened a line of dialogue with Pakistan Muslim League and PPP simultaneously in July this year as international pressure mounted on him to restore civilian rule. While some senior officials of the Musharraf government contacted the Sharifs through a third person in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was approached by a senior military official working in the Pakistani High Commission in London.

    Senior PPP sources were quoted by the paper as saying that initially Benazir had nominated Wajid Shamsul Hassan, former Pakistan high commissioner to UK, to hold negotiations on her behalf. The sources claimed that Mr Hassan held many meetings with the military official of the Pakistan High Commission. Later, an important meeting was held between Mr Shamsul Hasan and Lt-Gen Mahmood in some Western capital in August this year. As a result, Benazir agreed to meet Major General Akram who, according to the sources, has held at least two meetings with her in the last four months.

    According to the paper, changes in the NAB set-up were made because of these negotiations. The paper's military sources pointed out that soon after the departure of Lt-Gen S.M. Amjad, investigating cells in the NAB were told by the new chief to go slow on both Benazir and Nawaz Sharif cases. The sources also claimed that Benazir was aware of the Sharif-military deal.

    They also maintained the ARD was used as a face saving device for the military government to facilitate Mr Sharif's departure for Saudi Arabia.

    They said that Maj-Gen Akram also held a meeting with Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan at his Khangarh house a week before the formation of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy.

    The report went on to say that issues like the date of fresh elections and the name of a caretaker prime minister under whom polls would be held also came up during negotiations with Benazir.

    The sources said that Benazir nominated Aitzaz Ahsan for the post, but the military government wanted the caretaker prime minister from a smaller province, preferably Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

    Because of infighting in Muslim League, it was difficult for the party to name a candidate for the post of caretaker prime minister. However, in their case the name of Illahi Buksh Soomro is being mentioned.

    The sources were quoted as saying that because of the peculiar situation prevailing in Sindh the military government would prefer a candidate from the province.

    According to the report, the Musharraf government would like to hold elections in September next year by which time it hopes to put in place a strong local government mechanism.

    The issue of caretaker governments in provinces is also consuming a lot of energy of negotiators. The sources said that the PML would have a major representation in Punjab, PPP and MQM in Sindh, ANP in NWFP and BNP in Balochistan.

    The sources also claimed that the ARD had agreed on a power-sharing formula for the interim set-up. They said it was for this reason that parties in the ARD had been repeatedly saying that it was not an election alliance.

    The paper also said that the ANP and the MQM had been taken into confidence about the negotiations through their aides. The sources maintained that as 'a goodwill gesture' the military authorities had held separate talks with the MQM and directed the Ministry of Interior to review cases against people belonging to the MQM. The removal of Nasreen Jalil's name from the exit control list was mentioned as part of the 'gesture' .

    The sources claimed that Mr Amin Fahim had held several meetings with senior military personnel over the last few weeks. Benazir is reported to have asked him to remain 'stand by' to be called by her on a short notice.

    However, Mr Fahim himself said on Sunday night that he was waiting for Benazir's instruction to meet her. "I am told to be ready and can be summoned by Benazir any time."

    Meanwhile, some close friends of Benazir have claimed to have been told by the PPP leader that no such deal was in offing. She, however, told them that her party had been in contact with the military authorities about three months ago. She, according to the friends, said that the PPP had set some pre-conditions in talks with military negotiators which were perhaps not acceptable to them and the talks broke down.

    Mr Fahim arrived in Islamabad on Monday afternoon amid rumours that he had come to meet General Pervez Musharraf. Talking to the newspaper's reporter on Monday night, Mr Amin denied reports about a deal with the government, and said he had not come to meet General Musharraf. He, however, did not rule out the possibility of meeting an 'important person' in Islamabad.

    The newspapers' sources in the military government claimed that Mr Fahim's talks with the military authorities were in an advanced stage and that he was due to fly out today (Wednesday) for a meeting with Benazir


    It looks like that Musharaff has decided to increase his bank balance in the name of accountability and go to exile where he can live lavishly with NS in Saudi or UAE. A joke of the century.

    Interesting development.
    Maybe another way to get rid of the dirt.
    Not sure, but i know that there is rumors of a break in the PPP.
    If the CE is playing a political game he is quite smart at pushing the two opposite groups against each other, and breaking it up, like what is happening in the PML.
    With a split in these two parties, we can forget about them coming to power.

    Article from the dawn:

    PPP split on Benazir's homecoming

    By Mahmood Zaman

    LAHORE, Dec 19: The homecoming of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto does not seem likely in the immediate future though many top party leaders think that this is the most appropriate time for her to end her four-year self-imposed exile.

    The question of Ms Bhutto's returning home arose afresh in the backdrop of the government allowing the Sharifs to go into exile and a number of top PPP leaders understand that the political situation has turned so favourable for their chairperson that if she decides to return, she will be given a rousing welcome for her "courage and boldness".

    But the opinion of the party's central executive committee and the federal council, which met in a joint session in Islamabad on Dec 14, was said to be sharply divided on this issue after a threadbare discussion.

    A majority of the members of the two bodies held the view that their chairperson should return home, but at the same time they also felt that there should be no such adventurism as might land their leader in a difficult situation, according to highly placed PPP sources.

    The CEC and the FC, according to these sources, consequently resolved that the question of Ms Bhutto's return should be left undecided till such a time when formidable political and legal safeguards were ensured.

    As for political steps, the joint meeting felt that there should be a mobilization of the party cadres to such a degree that workers and leaders alike were prepared to face all possible eventualities, including their prospects for going to jails.

    The meeting was unanimously of the view that Ms Bhutto would be arrested and sent to jail the moment she set her feet on Pakistani soil. But it wanted enough legal safeguards that her ordeal would not prolong beyond a certain short period.

    A committee of lawyers was also constituted to find out chances of a pre-arrest bail from the Supreme Court which is cognizant of Ms Bhutto's appeal against a decision of the Lahore High Court's Ehtesab bench at Rawalpindi which convicted her during the period when Mian Nawaz Sharif was prime minister.

    A reference on the basis of these allegations was sent to the Ehtesab court by the Sharifs Ehtesab Bureau alleging that Ms Bhutto had awarded without enough legal process contracts to two foreign firms for pre-shipment inspection of goods for exports.

    The apex court earlier rejected a similar plea on the ground that the petitioner was abroad.

    The sources said the PPP leaders, summoned to Dubai on Dec 22 by Ms Bhutto, were likely to place before their chairperson all the pros and cons of the situation and it would be at the UAE capital that the decision of her returning or not returning home would be taken.

    However, a majority of the PPP leaders, contacted by this correspondent, did not approve of Ms Bhutto's coming home in present circumstances.

    They held this view despite the fact that they seemed convinced that the Sharifs' exile had exposed the military government's accountability process and that it was left with no moral justification for keeping in jails many political leaders whose offence was much less than that of the former prime minister's.

    It was in the background of this view that the PPP leaders demanded at the meeting the release of Asif Ali Zardari whose imprisonment now entered the fifth year and for whom four medical boards recommended hospitalization. They felt that no such medical board was set up for Nawaz Sharif and yet he was allowed a safe exit from the country.

    It may be recalled that the PPP bodies' meeting adopted a strong-worded resolution, saying that the government had used different yardstick for different provinces and it was in favour of the former prime minister from the largest province.

    They don't want her back, not for her own safety.
    Utter Bull****!!!

    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


      I don't think she will come.
      She showed that she has the quickest pair of heels in the sub continent
      I suggest she participate in the next Olympics.
      All you gotta do is show her a map of Pakistan and she will end up with a gold medal.



        You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


          That's right.It is very amusing the way Benazir Bhutto pops up every time there is a crisis in Pakistan.
          And she always talks about it either from London or from Washington.


            oh for gods sake dont let this woman called benazir back into pakistan
            her father was responsible for the separation of east pakistan and she will be the undoing of pakistan



              By the way when the Observer reported Nawaz's release, they qouted "RELIABLE MILITARY SOURCES" by saying that Restoration of Parliment was to be announced within a week and local body elections will be withdrawn.

              So, please do take it with a pinch of salt. they have always been a Pro-Nawaaz paper and have been very slow to acknowledge mis givings on his part. They were also amongst the first to criticise the over throw of Pakistan's "ELECTED and BELOVED" leader.

              So, please, no cart wheels