Thursday, August 30, 2007

Musharraf in Pakistan..the balancing act continues...

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf continues to cling to power.

There have been a lot of secret negotiations going on, but here's what's happened so far:

Depending on whom you talk to, Musharraf is either going to announce that he's giving up his position as army chief of staff ( which is exactly what the opposition demanded, and what led to the whole Choudhrey mess ) or he's going to retain it and form a power sharing coalition with his new ally, ex Prime Minister Benezir Bhutto.

Bhutto has been meeting with Musharraf's aides in London, where she has been living in self-imposed exile following allegations of corruption during her two terms as prime minister. Part of the proposed deal involves legislation that any further investigation of those charges and lift the ban on serving a third term as prime minister.

Another wild card in the mix is former prime minister Nawaz Sharif,who wants to run for re-election and says he is willing to risk jail in order to return to Pakistan ahead of Ramadan in mid-September. Unlike Bhutto, Sharif has refused to negotiate with General Musharraf, who ousted him from power in a coup back in 1999.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Supreme Court, complete with re-instated chief justice Choudhrey has stepped in and agreed to rule on a challenge to the legality of General Musharraf's dual role of president and army chief and to his re-election by the country's existing legislature.....and to say that they have an axe to grind is an understatement.

And of course, there are the various Islamist elements as a sort of hemlock in this particular nuclear armed witch's brew.

I wouldn't hazard a guess on which way this one's going.

Look for some interesting news to come from Pakistan fairly soon.

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