Bhutto-Musharrf Gulf Widens As Mistrust Increases

Ms. Benazir Bhutto expressed dissatisfaction with the initial official report on the suicide bombing that greeted her arrival home. It appears Musharraf warned her about possible attacks and asked Bhutto to delay returning, but Ms. Bhutto named three suspects behind the attack in her letter to the president, she claimed the conspirators were “people with powerful positions in government and included “a close friend of the president.” The strange alliance between two arrogant and self centered individuals had strains from the beginning but each needed the other for self interest. Musharrf is increasingly unpopular while Bhutto has popularity but also angers fundamentalist elements in the population

According to the Lahore Daily Times, Bhutto has named specific men including the PUnjab chief minister Caudhry Pervaiz Elahi and a former intelligence officer. By naming specific people, Ms. Bhutto has added a new strain to their relationship. Does President Musharraf take action against his close allies because Ms. Bhutto claims they are conspiring against her? The two allies are trapped in their own strengths and weaknesses, Ms. Bhutto has the support of many moderate components of the Pakistan population while Musharraf is trying to walk the thin line of maintaining his conservative support without alienating moderates and vice versa.

Pakistan is divided and there is no doubt terrorists will continue with their efforts to kill Musharraf and Bhutto. What will happen if either or both of them are killed? Has anyone in the Bush administration considered that possibility?