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Benazir Bhutto, Kulsoom Nawaz and Sehba Musharraf: trio of Pakistani politics
It will be an unprecedented moment for Pakistan if everything goes as wished and planned by the three leaders. The trio of Kulsoom Nawaz, Benazir Bhutto and Sehba will send a message to the world of a changing and moderate Pakistan.
PAKISTANI POLITICS IS throwing some surprises everyday, which are indicating change in the mindset of ruling class. Benazir Bhutto is set to return to Pakistan on 18 October, after the Presidential Elections are over in Pakistan. The government has also made it clear that she will not be deported like Nawaz Sharif has been. Instead, she will have to face the charges being levelled against her. Clearly the government is going soft on her compared to Nawaz Sharif, as the government authorities have said that she will be allowed to contest elections.
 
Meanwhile Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz has decided to come to Pakistan. She is coming back because she is not bound by the exile agreement between Nawaz Sharif and General Musharraf. This has given a new twist to the Pakistani politics, as the government has said that she will be allowed to contest elections, scheduled to be held sometime in early 2008, if she wishes. This is interesting from the point of view that Nawaz Sharif has found a way to counter the General who is on a trip to Saudi Arabia to ensure that Sharif is confined there. Amid all these developments, a newspaper has quoted its sources that Musharraf has found an interesting solution to his problem. Musharraf has decided to field his wife Sehba as a proxy candidate for the run up to the presidential elections and it is speculated that the United States government has given its nod to it.
 
What actually prompted General Musharraf and the US administration to resort to this plan is anybody’s guess. The presidential election is round the corner and no deal has been struck, at least officially, between Benazir Bhutto and General Musharraf. Musharraf is still facing an opposition to his candidature for the presidential elections in the uniform. Though he has eliminated any immediate threat to his candidature, the Supreme Court of Pakistan is keenly observing the General’s move and any attempt by the General to become the General President is likely to be held unconstitutional by the highest court of Pakistan.
 
This is the biggest hurdle to General Musharraf’s ambitions and there is no way he can escape the wrath of Supreme Court. Also, he doesn’t want to let the power slip out of his hand. So this is the golden formula for ensuring that power remains within arms reach, if not in the hands. This is the best possible solution to Musharraf’s problem, as he can control the politics and policies from behind. This is time-tested formula whose success is guaranteed. Musharraf is still the most powerful man in Pakistan and enjoys support from the army. So, it would not be difficult for him to ensure victory for his wife. This step is also likely to deal a blow to the position of Benazir Bhutto, for the election of Musharraf’s wife will put her in a relatively disadvantaged position. She may not be able to extract all her demands from General Musharraf; rather she may have to concede to the demands of Musharraf. This step has left a very small space for her in the negotiations and the canny general has given her an indication that striking a deal would be beneficial for her. That is the reason why the government is going soft on her.
 
It will be an unprecedented moment for Pakistan if everything goes as wished and planned by the three leaders. The trio of Kulsoom Nawaz, Benazir Bhutto and Sehba will send a message to the world of a changing and moderate Pakistan. But how the fundamentalists are going to react to this development is yet to be seen.
 
 
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