Musharraf isolation on poor security for Benazir

President Pervez Musharraf failed to provide enough security for Benazir Bhutto as she couldn’t develop “good relations” with him despite her requesting the military dictator for more security cover days before she was assassinated, reveals a book by a US journalist.

The revelations in the book The Way of the World, by Pulitzer Prize winning US journalist Ron Suskind come at a time when Musharraf is facing increasing isolation with the ruling coalition announcing that it would impeach him.

Suskind’s book is full of disclosures, with a fair portion about the conversations between Musharraf and Benazir, including Musharraf’s quote – “You should understand something, your security is based on the state of our relationship”.

“This shows that the government of Musharraf failed to provide enough security to Benazir as she couldn’t develop good relationship with him… Who knows who is behind her murder but this shows some relationship between the then government and the assassins,” a senior leader of Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said.

Sources say that the charge sheet being prepared against Musharraf by the ruling coalition also includes Bhutto’s assassination and the government’s failure to conduct an inquiry into the Dec 27, 2007, murder.

“Musharraf has been isolated, and now the politicians who enjoyed power during the last nine years are distancing themselves from him,” said a source close to the former military dictator who quit as army chief in December last year.

Musharraf took over power in October 1999 after overthrowing the elected government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. A year later, Musharraf sent Sharif into exile and ruled the country through his handpicked politicians, who are now criticizing him for derailing the democratic process in the country.

Even Musharraf’s close aides are avoiding speaking to the media and people across the board have welcomed the government’s decision to impeach him.

The number of his aides has also dropped sharply – it is not even in double figures and many are avoiding talking to him. Former confidante Sheikh Rashid Ahmed denied reports that he had met Musharraf after the government announcement to impeach him.

The ruling coalition which stopped him going to China for the Olympic Games inauguration has decided to make him a “non-functional” head straightaway.

A source in the ruling coalition said all government departments and provincial governments have been asked not to give him official protocol and all his engagements in official functions have been cancelled.

This is for the first time in the country’s history that a president will be impeached. There is speculation that the president, who has also lost the confidence of the military forces, may resign before the impeachment takes place.

The two-day conference of army commanders ended Friday didn’t issue a word on the political situation or in favour of President Musharraf. “He has lost the hope that the army will come to his rescue,” said an informed source, adding that Musharraf’s options are very limited.

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