Monday, November 19, 2007
After all, it is essential that the conflict between Musharraf and Bhutto be contained so as to avoid accidentally igniting a true mass insurrection against the regime.
Pakastani President Pervez Musharraf yesterday nailed down January 8 for elections while opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, in yet another political backflip, appeared to lay the groundwork for resuming power-sharing negotiations with the military ruler.
"Inshallah (God willing), the general elections would be held on January 8," a government statement quoted General Musharraf as telling supporters in Karachi amid rumours of a possible meeting between him and Ms Bhutto.
Both General Musharraf and Ms Bhutto were in the city at the same time following the departure from Pakistan of top US diplomat John Negroponte.
Mr Negroponte delivered a tough message to General Musharraf demanding an immediate end to the country's state of emergency and restoration of its constitution.
The meeting came as protests against General Musharraf's tactics spread to Britain, where demonstrators, including Jemima Khan, the former wife of detained politician Imran Khan, rallied outside Pakistan's High Commission to call for an end to the emergency rule.
Mr Negroponte strongly advised both General Musharraf and Ms Bhutto, whom he spoke to by phone, to shelve their differences and revive the power-sharing talks they have been having over the past few months.