US Presses Musharraf to Share Power With Rival

Bhutto as PM would signal change
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2007 9:28 AM CDT
Supporter of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto attends anti-government rally holding poster of her leader, Thursday, May 24, 2007 in Lahore, Pakistan. Thousands of anti-President Gen. Pervez...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.