Musharraf may drop charges against Bhutto | india | Hindustan Times
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Musharraf may drop charges against Bhutto

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 18:24 IST
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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to drop all cases against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and also share power with her, according to a close Bhutto family member.

Hakim Ali Zardari, whose son Asif Ali Zardari is married to Benazir, said he was in contact with the "government people" but maintained that his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will not share power with the army, according to a report in The News International on Saturday.

Addressing a news conference at Nawabshah in Sind, the Zardari senior said he was opposed to what he called the "mullah-military alliance" that was working against the national interest.

The family elder described the news of differences between his son Asif Zardari and daughter-in-law Benazir as "a mere rumour floated by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)," Pakistan military's powerful intelligence agency.

The two were married in July 1987 and have three children. Asif has been in and out of jail fighting various corruption charges.

In a reference to the rebellion in Balochistan and Sindh, Zardari senior was critical of the Musharraf regime saying that the government had created a situation that resembles the one prevailing in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971.

That the government and Benazir have been "in contact" has been a subject of much speculation and even political analysis for long.

Analysts in Pakistan and in western countries have surmised that an alliance with PPP would give the Musharraf-supported Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid) the much-needed political legitimacy.

Moreover, such an alliance would be preferred even by the US, which wants to promote 'secular' forces in Pakistan to hold the Islamist forces at bay that have gained ascendance in the region particularly after 9/11 and the overthrow of the Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan.

This, however, many analysts feel, is not going to be easy because of PPP's traditional anti-army stance.

Benazir has also been unhappy with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid), which has welcomed and enrolled large number of defectors from her party, the newspaper said.

On the other hand, it makes sense for Benazir to stay in touch with a regime that ousted her arch-rival.

The contacts "at one level or the other," as Zardari put it, have continued despite the coming together of Benazir and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif this year to finalise a 'Charter of Democracy'.

Both the former prime ministers have vowed to return home to participate in the polls likely next year.

Zardari said Benazir would return before the polls and even face the 'risk' of being detained by the Musharraf regime.

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