Progress in Pakistan - but Obama could still ruin it

Will Musharraf declare a state of emergency? Or will he follow through with attempts to form a moderately secular alliance with Benazir Bhutto?

The latter would be by far the best, both for Pakistan and its allies in the war on terror. Musharraf and Bhutto are both moderates and westenisers. The Islamists in al Qaeda and in Pakistan's intelligence services are enemies to both. Elements within ISS try to undermine - elements inserted within Pakistan's military by the last dictator, Zia ul-Haq, who, among many other abuses, murdered Benazir Bhutto's father.

Opinion Journal has a fascinating interview with Bhutto, in which she goes out of her way to keep alive the rumour that she and Musharraf have reached an accomodation.

Within days Musharraf's Presidency could be strengthened by the appointment of Bhutto as his Prime Minister. The rewards of such a deal in terms of the war on terror could be substantial:

"We'd like to work closely with NATO and the United States in eliminating militancy," she says. "But I think enough effort hasn't been made by Pakistan on its own in those areas. . . . If the government had the consistent and persistent will to take them on then I think government writ can be established."

The rumoured state of emergency could still destroy the deal. Perhaps this is one reason Bhutto attacks Barack Obama for his irresonsible remarks that have destablised Musharraf:

"I was disturbed by his comments. And I was disturbed because any unilateral attack will unite all Pakistanis together because they will see it as a threat against our country."

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