Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had a short meeting in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Observers hint at this meeting being a crucial icebreaker towards a possible electoral coalition between them.
Television channels have reported the meeting, but there has been no official confirmation on the same nor the details have been divulged.
Significantly, the main leaders of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are currently in the United Kingdom finalising electoral seats. No party leader of any significance was with her at the time of the Abu Dhabi meeting.
Similarly Tariq Aziz, Musharraf’s key advisor, did not accompany him. Aziz is understood to have been behind the back-channel diplomacy, which the government has been engaging in for some months now.
Bhutto’s team comprised two close advisors — Rehman Malik, a former policeman turned party loyal, and Bashir Riaz, a close family confidante. Both have no political standing in PPP.
Media reports also said there was a possibility that President Musharraf will be meeting another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.
However, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leaders have denied any such reports. While the PPP has been warm to an understanding with General Musharraf, the PML-N has so far not responded favourably to the idea.
The meeting came at a crucial time for Pakistan as yet another suicide bomber attacked a civilian area of Islamabad, on Friday. Officials confirmed at least 11 died in this attack.