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Benazir hires lobbying firm to improve image

The former Pak PM has hired the services of a US-based firm to spearhead an international campaign to revive her political standing.

world Updated: Apr 07, 2007 14:05 IST

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is reported to have hired the services of a Washington-based lobbying firm to spearhead an international campaign to revive her political standing.

Bhutto, according to the Daily Times, is keen to project the view that she would be a staunch ally of Washington, and be more credible in selling anti-terrorism efforts to the public than General Musharraf.

According to a New York Times report, Bhutto has used the last couple of months to highlight the failure of the present regime in Pakistan in warding off international criticism of its campaign against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Recently, while on a short visit to India, she said: "I don’t think our present regime has been able to dissociate my country’s name with terrorism, and I believe a popular democratic government can".

Bhutto has lived in self-imposed exile since 1997. "Today, she divides her time between London and Dubai, and appears ever more intent on preparing the ground for a return to Pakistan, though many obstacles remain," the NYT report said.

The NYT report quotes Craig Cohen of a major US think tank as saying, "I’m not sure if there’s any amount of charm or orchestration on Benazir’s part. Something major would have to happen in Pakistan for the Bush Administration to give up on Musharraf".

The NYT report points out that Bhutto’s latest approach has been “as notable for what she has chosen to say as for what she has left unsaid.

Her criticism of General Musharraf in recent weeks has been “appreciably mild”, and her hunger to return to political life in Pakistan remains undiminished.

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