Musharraf deal with Bhutto complete, Pakistani minister says

A power-sharing deal between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is now complete, media on Tuesday quoted a cabinet minister as saying.

Musharraf deal with Bhutto complete, Pakistani minister says
A power-sharing deal between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is now complete, media on Tuesday quoted a cabinet minister as saying.

"All matters have been finalized with the former prime minister," Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said, according to the English-language Dawn newspaper. "The recent statements [of denial] by Benazir Bhutto are just for political consumption."

Musharraf, an army general who seized power in a coup in 1999, reportedly met the head of the mainstream Pakistani People's Party in Abu Dhabi last month in an apparent bid to ensure that she would back his re-election by parliament in the autumn.

The long-rumoured deal was expected to include the closure of corruption investigations against Bhutto and her husband, her return from self-exile and likely appointment to the post of prime minister.

Bhutto has said that Musharraf is prepared for her return to Pakistan but that he must build confidence by lifting a ban on politicians serving a third term as prime minister.

Bhutto, 54, held the post twice in the 1980s and 1990s. She has lived in exile in London and Dubai since 1998.

However, she continues to deny any agreement has been reached and said that her position is unchanged that Musharraf must step down as armed forces chief before he seeks re-election.

Rashid dismissed her statements as a "political gimmick" made before the deal is implemented.

Compounding speculation, Musharraf said Saturday that the return of Bhutto and another exiled former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, before elections expected in September or October would "disturb the political situation."

Fears that Musharraf might postpone or cancel the polls amid growing tensions in the country grew last week when he held top-level talks on the possible imposition of emergency rule.

He then backed away from the measure and said the elections could proceed as planned. Pakistan is also due to hold general elections of a new parliament in December or January.

DPA
Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2007, 15:31
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