ORF Pakistan Studies Programme
20 November 2007
President Pervez Musharraf’s attempts to pit the two former Prime Ministers—Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto—against each other does not seem to be working out as per the script. Bhutto is keeping her cards close to her, blowing hot and cold since last week. She wants the General President to quit both as the General and President. She even showed an inclination to patch up with her arch rival, Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf too is keen on opening a line of dialogue with Sharif who, however, has refused to `shake hands` with him when the former visits Saudi Arabia on November 21.
The judiciary has not let off President Musharraf completely. Five of the six cases have been thrown out on grounds other than the legality of the presidential election. At least three of the judges have decided to excuse themselves from the bench hearing the case on the ground that the government has blamed the judiciary for imposing emergency. The Supreme Court, despite being rearranged, has not shown any inclination to legitimize Musharraf’s dual roles.
The Bush Administration, consistent supporter of Musharraf, is exhibiting clear signs of fatigue with the General whose every step is taking the country, and the American interests, towards a blind alley. A White House spokesperson summed up the feeling in Washington thus: ``U.S. President Bush has urged his Pakistani counterpart to lift emergency rule, there's not much else that can be done``.
Source: Daily Times, The News International, Dawn, Pak Observer