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Return of Benazir Bhutto

18 September, 2007

By Syed A. Mateen


The Vice Chairman of Pakistan People Party Makhdoom Amin Fahim has announced that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto would be coming to Karachi on October 18, 2007 after ending her 8 years self-exile.

The presidential election is going to be held in early October 2007 and on October 12, 2007 General Pervez Musharraf would also be completing his eight years of rule.

Mohtarma has spoken on number of times to establish the rule of democracy in Pakistan and has come back with the old slogan of her late father Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto  roti, kapra aur makan (bread, clothing and house) which he used during his party's election campaign in early 70's.

But to mark a specific date to establish democracy in Pakistan, it would have been more ideal for Benazir Bhutto to return on October 12 which is remembered as "coup date", as General Pervez Musharraf took over the charge of the country in a bloodless coup.

But Benazir Bhutto is returning back on October 18 which means that Mohtarma and her Pakistan’s People’s Party do not want to become a hurdle in the presidential election, otherwise she would have returned on October 12.  I do not think that any more talks between the president’s aides and Benazir Bhutto would continue and it is quite possible that members Pakistan’s Peoples Party may also resign from the parliament in protest of the election rules that are amended for the president by the Election Commission.

After the forced exile of Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia on September 10, 2007, now only Benazir Bhutto is left in the political field who wanted to become Prime Minister for the third-time.

Probably, President Pervez Musharraf must have given a serious thought to make Benazir Bhutto a third-time Prime Minister, but under the present political scenario, President does not have any other choice, except to listen to Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, who has once again assured the President that PML(Q) would re-elect General Pervez Musharraf for another term of five years.

Majority of the members of the PML(Q) does not want that President General Pervez Musharraf should indirectly or directly talk with Benazir Bhutto or her party members for sharing power or developing consensus on issues, as this will put members of PML(Q) in much awkward position.

What will be new political setup in the country, one will only come to know when the general elections in the country are over. The president will then ask the head of the majority winning political party to form the new government.  

But for Mohtarma to become third-time Prime Minister, it is necessary for her to face the cases which are pending in the local courts. Once the cases are decided by the court of law and there should be no impediments on her way in filing nomination papers with the Election Commission.

Members of the present or future National Assembly also need to pass a bill with a two-third majority in the parliament that a two-time Prime Minister can also hold the office of Prime Minister for third-time.

In Sindh, the largest political party MQM has also welcomed the announcement of Benazir Bhutto that she would be returning to Karachi on October 18. It is quite possible that people of Karachi would once again witness a big rally that will come out when Benazir Bhutto will land at Karachi airport.

There is no doubt that the charismatic personality of Benazir Bhutto would once again mobilize the party workers but it entire depend that how things move politically. PPP can only dominate the country when it will secure a two-third majority in the parliament, otherwise it would be a difficult task for Benazir Bhutto to become a third-time Prime Minister.

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