Sunday, April 22, 2007

Musharraf phones Benazir himself

Newsweek comes out this week revealing how anxious Musharraf has really become.

Quoting sources from both sides of the political divide, Newsweek reports that a frantic Musharraf has telephoned Benazir Bhutto at least three times. Apparently this time desperation has made him seek her out directly rather than relying on his aides.

Here is an excerpt:


April 30, 2007, Newsweek, U.S. Edition
Musharraf's Secret Deal
By Zahid Hussain and Ron Moreau
One of America's most crucial allies against Al Qaeda is bargaining for his political life. Public opposition to Pakistan's autocratic leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has grown so fierce that he's secretly reaching out to a longtime enemy of his military rule: exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. According to sources close to both sides who cannot be named because of the sensitivity of the ongoing talks, Musharraf has telephoned Bhutto at least three times.


Anonymous said...

Benazir has hired a top-lobbying firm in Washington for six months at a cost of $ 250,000, to sway elite opinion of Pakistan in the West. Campaign materials will be developed and op-eds and white papers circulated. The lobbyist is undertaking a "broad public affairs campaign", contacting administration officials and members of Congress. The PPPP will turn to "third-party supporters," such as former U.S. government officials and think tanks, and Bhutto may host dinner parties and give out other inducements to select individuals.

And finally, the campaign will focus on the press by scheduling editorial board meetings for Bhutto with the leading news media and "targeting top journalists" from Newsweek and NYT, etc.

So all this rumours and innuendoes of wheeling and dealing are part of this deceptive marketing campaign. Let’s not get carried away, by focusing on such gossip, as one of their objectives is to change the focus of news headlines and the discussion to her.
Let’s not be deceived by letting them succeed in their objective.

Anonymous said...

While BB may be engaged in a PR overdrive in the US, a co-author of ths Newsweek story is a reputable Pakistani journalist, Zahid Hussain.

Somehow I doubt if a Washington lobbyist can pull wool over Zahid Hussain's eyes.

Methinks this story rings true. All one has to do is see Musharraf's shrunken and tense visage on TV these days, to realise all is not well inside.

Anonymous said...

To anonmymous: PS It is standard practice in Washington for foreign governments and opposition groups to engage lobbying groups - we must stop being so insular to the ways of the world - this is a major reason why countries like india and bangladesh, malaysia and thailand and many more have overtaken us. We are only interested in pulling people down and conspiracy theories - we must get with the world and use the best tools available. Zjan

jusAthot said...

The use of lobbyists by Taiwan, Haiti,Malaysia, etc is by the government of these countries, for the benefit of their countries and to counter its negative image. Lobbyist Burston-Marsteller and BKSH and associates, clients are the governments of Taiwan and Haiti to companies such as GE, but hardly ever an individual, like Benazir.

But even that may not be our concern. However, the looted funds of the national treasury, money laundered into banks in the Western capitals, are now being utilized for the maximization of private greed and gain. And if all these wheeling and dealing is done in a deceitful manner for the private greed and gain, than we should not let such individuals take advantage and fool our countrymen and women for the third time.

If the operational ethics were “looking out for number one,” than corruption will be chronic and the status quo of the flawed character of rulers would be the norm. India, Malaysia, etc are leaving us behind because we don't seem to change the status quo and our operational ethics.

We should do what we can to try to stop this musical chair drama – that is holding up our progress.

Anonymous said...

I generally like this blog but the anti-Bhutto bias here is just too much. If we are to reject Musharraf and then reject Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who do we support?

May I request a little realism, please.

JusAthot, Please check out.

Opposition political parties also hire lobbyists in the U.S. In fact, if you want you can, too, as long as you regoster yourself and explain what the purpose of your lobbying effort is.

As for the money, it might seem a lot sitting in Pakistan. In the U.S., it is only half of what a surgeon makes annually.

The PPP USA has many doctors and surgeons in it. I am a surgeon based in St. Louis, MO and I have contributed $ 5000 for the lobbying effort in the USA on behalf of the party. So have many other professionals, led by a colleague of ours from New Jersey.

Without getting into the prolonged debate about corruption charges, let me just say that there has to be a flaw in the charges that have not been proven in a court of law after ten years of which eight and a half were spent by Mr. Asif Zardari in prison.

Now that the courts of law have not convicted Mohtarma, let her case be heard by the people of Pakistan. If they still vote for her in a free and fair election, the case will stand settled. if the people vote against her, then too you can have the satisfaction that the matter is now concluded.

Those of you who are convinced of Mohtarma's corruption should campaign hard to convince the Pakistani people not to vote for her.

Those of us who think she was framed (without denying some mistakes on her part, which any politician can make)will try to persuade the people of Pakistan that she deserves another chance.

Since the people of pakistan are unlikely to get an opportunity to vote in a free and fair election without Uncle Sam backing such an election, some of us are struggling to get a hearing from the U.S., legally and within the American system.

Incidentally, our humble collection of $250,000 is far less than the $10 or 20 billion Musharraf and Co. have received from the U.S. so far. The commissions on a hand full of arms deals alone, runs into millions of dollars and has been pocketed by generals and Shaukat Aziz's cronies.

Musharraf has an embassy and many consulates to lobby for him in U.S. and still he has hired three different lobbying and PR firms to ensure continued American support for him.

If Pakistan's military dictator can lobby for his continued rule with the Pakistani taxpayer's money (and the American taxpayer's money sent to him as aid), why can't some dual citizens of U.S. and Pakistan raise funds and lobby for whomever we think as the most suitable representative of the Pakistani people?

Sorry for putting up this long post. I would have put it under my name if it were not for the tradition of this blog for almost everyone including the blogger to remain anonymous.

Things are usually transparent in the United States. Please feel free to file an application with the U.S. Dept of Justice where the names of all the people who have paid for the PPP's lobbying effort are duly registered under the Foreign Representatives Registration Act.

If anyone is engaging in rumors and innuendos about a deal it is Musharraf's crowd. Musharraf is on the ropes and the rumour of a deal with Mohtarma is one way of changing the subject.

The person most spreading the rumour of a deal, and someone everyone is quoting, is Friday Times editor Najam Sethi. People forget that he was a member of Farooq Leghari's caretaker cabinet and the man who served as the first head of the Ehtisab Cell.

Anonymous said...

Doctor sahib, as you may have noticed from my earlier posting on this blog, I have said that Benazir isn’t the only one in this game for personal agenda. Many of us are fed-up of the status quo and musical-chair drama created both by the ruling elites and the oppositions, using deceptive methods and divisionary tactics.
Do you really wish to continue support for the same old opportunist and self-serving personality or is your loyalty for the party? As Babar Sattar very aptly said in a recent column: “Benazir Bhutto has obliquely acknowledged her keenness to use clutches of the Musharraf Regime to polish her political fortunes in Pakistan… Many supporters of democracy in Pakistan are incensed at Bhutto's about-face on her piously declared opposition to military rule. What could possibly inspire Bhutto to break rank with the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy and dance to the general's tune? Was it not opportunistic behavior of political elites -- reflected yet again in Bhutto's desire to work with the general -- that made democracy in Pakistan synonymous with self-seeking unscrupulous politics? Is there a way to rationalize the approach of the PPP's leadership in terms other than uninhibited hunger for political office and self-promotion?… What do manifestos and charters and principles mean if they will always be trumped by politics of power and expediency?… And succumbing to such temptation further bolsters the king-making/removing role of the military…. Ordinary people of this country stand bewildered watching political shenanigans unfold and wondering what are the compulsions of power that disable fellow citizens from functioning as decent people of integrity when in politics. They also wonder why those exhibiting integrity despite being in politics are so beholden to their party heads to be inconsequential in the decision-making process. Can Aitizaz Ahsan or Raza Rabbani please explain to Bhutto that ends don't justify means?”
If we expect change of status quo will come by defending Musharraf, N.S. or Benazir, than we may be living in a fantasy island. It is time for a new breed of politicians. Don’t tell me that PPP-P does not have any capable person who could be that new breed of politician that will work to change the status quo. What is needed is widespread organizing and support for a new breed of politicians who will be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Unfortunately, with Benazir-Nawaz Sharif-Musharraf – the cure is worst than the ailment. Finally, to end in the words of Ayaz Amir, who said it best: “Pray God that in the 60th year of its existence Pakistan finally finds the peace and calm, and the freedom from the thralldom of third-rate buffoons and charlatans, which have eluded it for so long”. Ameen.

Anonymous said...

jusAthot said:

Doctor sahib, like you I also don’t wish to dwell on the corruption charges against Zardari-Benazir, in this forum. But we all know that in most Third World countries corruption is endemic. In Pakistan, we always make it to the Most Corrupt List. So “where is the proof”? is the time-honored line of all the politicians. There are so many bigwigs from Generals to Majors to Directors involved in these scams with the likes of Zardari, Inc. that these matters are never fully processed as it may be like opening a can of worms. Rather, they typically use these files to keep the spouses, sons or other relatives or friends behind bar for political blackmailing and taking turns emptying the national coffers. Now you see this also happening in Bangladesh.

Its like the robbers are out to catch the robbers! They have all pretty much abused their political office for private greed and gain. The point that needs to be understood is that lying and denying is not a big deal for them; money is.

Let’s us all work towards a new, humane and truly democratic society free from corruption and injustices and inequality, in our erstwhile country. According to a latest report from UN: get rid of corruption and bad leadership and poverty would be history. It may be wishful thinking, but we must all try to work towards that goal for the sake of the future generation of Pakistanis. We may have the resources that most Pakistanis don’t have, let’s use them to help our brothers and sisters.

AAS said...

I love this blog and the exchange between the Doctor and justAhot is proof. Even though i side with justAhot it is good to see a civil debate.

As one part of my extended family(not me at all) is entrenched with the Nawaz camp i can say that BB and NS are really the same thing. No one should defend them.

I had the unpleasant fortune of having dinner(just 4 others included) with Shabaz Sharif just a few weeks before the Iraq war and i can tell you that all his talent and acumen and energy are directed at having his family stay in power at all was easy to see that Pakistan is not factored in for even a minute.

By the way Doctor Sahib....if BB is such a wonderful person....why was she elected "life chairman" of her party. Does that speak of someone who is for democracy and for the people? Lets just humor ourselves and say it was not her idea to be chairman for life.....with her in that position for life what happens to fairnesss and checks and balances?