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 MUSHARAF , BENAZIR AND NAWAZ

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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Registration date : 2007-12-16

PostSubject: MUSHARAF , BENAZIR AND NAWAZ   Tue Dec 25, 2007 9:53 am

MUSHARAF , BENAZIR AND NAWAZ



A CONFIDENT MUSHARRAF



President Musharraf is feeling more confident now than he did few weeks back. The hopeless performance by the opposition and the scuttling of the initial U.S. game plan to remove him has given him a new lease of life and he is busy consolidating his position in which even now, in the absence of any elected government, he remains the most relevant man to deal with the national affairs.



In fact, President Musharraf is moving fast. Not just that he has given a softer face to his ‘coup’ known as emergency rule, he has even created a National Command Authority in which he would remain the supreme chair in matters of national security.



Basically, a first step towards giving more powers to the Presidency than to the Prime Minister in matters of national security. Which basically means that the President would remain a very relevant figure in the system even after the elections that is supposed to be parliamentary democracy. Smart moves which are sure to upset the next potential candidates for PM slot – Mian Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.



President Musharraf then moved on to send some strong signals to the opposition parties especially those who are either boycotting the elections or to those who are threatening to launch a protest movement if the results are “rigged” according to them.












A WISER NAWAZ



Mr. Sharif made too many political mistakes in a very short period of time. Had he missed these elections, he would have been dead politically.



So finally, Nawaz Sharif did wise up and decided to join the political process instead of following the ‘agitational’ path that Imran Khan and JI chief Qazi Hussain as well as sub-nationalist parties are taking. However, Mr. Sharif continues to see the former Chief Justice as a savior and an insurance policy against a future hostile Presidency. That is why he is insisting on reinstating the deposed judges.



Mr. Sharif’s decision finally led to total and complete collapse of political opposition groups struggling against President Musharraf. For now, it is a free for all within the opposition and the net beneficiary is President Musharraf alone.



BHUTTO OF THE WEST



Mrs. Bhutto is still playing the game of dramatizing the threat of extremists to increase her acceptability within the U.S. and western governments. She is truly disappointed that the U.S. did not go along with her against General Musharraf to assure her a safe and secure slot for the coveted post.



Now she has to fend for herself when Musharraf is the President and she has competition in the field in the form of Nawaz Sharif. Her threat assessment of Pakistan’s internal security situation is total nonsense to say the least. This is just melodrama playing for the western gallery.



While both Mrs. Bhutto and Mr. Shari want to become next PM, they are not sure how to go about it. Both of them distrust each other and have fought like wild cats in the streets in the past. She ditched him after signing the charter of democracy when U.S. offered her a better deal. Now when she has been dumped by Musharraf, she wants another stint of relationship with Sharif. After the elections, they will fight again for spoils. It is a hopeless relationship in any case.



For the next few days and weeks, the Pakistani politics is not expected to throw any radical surprises. Election fever is going to rise in the coming days and unless some really ugly security situation develops, elections should be on time in early January.







This article is extracted from the last two situation reports released by BRASSTACKS, an Islamabad-based independent security and defense analysis firm. The author, Mr. Zaid Hamid, is the Founding Consultant of the firm. He also hosts a weekly talk show on TV1 News.
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