As the latest violence rocked Islamabad, Pervez Musharraf was outside the country, travelling to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. All of the major private news networks and newspapers in Pakistan were reporting that he had taken advantage of a neutral location to hold a secret meeting with his number one political opponent: the exiled former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan government officials would not confirm the meeting. Journalist Munizae Jahangir says such a meeting would be unprecedented. But it reinforces the pressures Musharraf is under to deal with his growing problems.
MUNIZAE JAHANGIR, JOURNALIST, ON THE PHONE FROM PAKISTAN: well, in a very significant development, there have been media reports that President Musharraf, on his trip to U.A.E., United Arab Emirates, has [met] former prime minister, exiled leader Ms. Benazir Bhutto, who leads the largest secular party here in Pakistan. And these reports come after very high-level meetings within the Pakistan People’s Party, and the reports said there might be a rapprochement between Benazir Bhutto and General Musharraf. She may give him the safe passage out. Her party’s likely to win if elections are announced. So certainly President Musharraf, who has been so vocal against Benazir Bhutto, has called on all sorts of names in the public is now, for the first time since his coup, is meeting with Benazir Bhutto. And according to media reports and my information, there was a meeting that took place just a few hours ago, a fifty-five minute meeting. And in it, they are going to be discussing some very important issues, including a caretaker government, whether there’ll be free and fair elections, and the future course that the country shall take. This kind of shows how pressurized President Musharraf is, because he was very reluctant to have anything to do with Benazir Bhutto, who heads the largest secular party. But because America and Britain had been pressurizing him to have some sort of an alliance with Benazir Bhutto, to have some sort of movement towards democratic change, if he has today met Benazir Bhutto.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.