To strengthen Gen. Pervez Musharraf 's shaky hold on crisis-rocked Pakistan, the US is pressing him to share power with his biggest rival, the New York Times reports. Musharraf is deeply unpopular, and the White House thinks his best chance of remaining president is to join forces with former PM Benazir Bhutto. The US fears that a Musharraf ouster would endanger the counter-terrorism effort in Pakistan.
Bhutto has been holding talks with US officials in the past weeks, and she and Musharraf met secretly in Abu Dhabi on July 27. Pakistan has been a quasi-military dictatorship since Musharraf seized power in 1999, and a power-sharing arrangement with Bhutto, as PM, could lead the country in a more democratic direction.