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US has no 'Plan B' for Pakistan after Benazir's death    2007-12-31 06:06:01    

Washington, Dec 31 : The Bush Administration has no 'plan B' for Pakistan following the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, which has dramatically altered Pakistani politics, a US based daily has said.
The Bush Administration has no 'plan B' for Pakistan following the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, which has dramatically altered Pakistani politics, a US based daily has said.

Bhutto's death has left Washington even more dependent on President Pervez Musharraf as the lone pro-US leader in a nation facing growing extremism, the Washington Post said in its report.

"Despite anxiety among intelligence officials and experts, the Bush Administration is only slightly tweaking a course charted in the past 18 months to support the creation of a political centre around Musharraf," the paper quoted US officials, as saying.

"Plan A still has to work," an official involved in Pakistan policy said.

"We all have to appeal to moderate forces to come together and carry the election and create a more solidly based government, then use that as a platform to fight the terrorists," the official added.

He said that the US policy is wedded to Musharraf, despite growing warnings that his "dictatorial ways" are untenable.

Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group said, "The Bush Administration has had a disastrous policy towards Pakistan, as bad as the Iraq policy. They are clinging to the wreckage of Musharraf, flailing around. Musharraf has outlived all possible usage to Pakistan and the US."

He is of the view that without Musharraf, moderate forces coming from the Pakistan People's Party, Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League, the moderate Balochistan National Party and the mostly Pashtun Awami National Party could create a more legitimate centrist political space.

But with Musharraf having won a five-year presidential term in October, the looming question centres on who will become Prime Minister, the Daily Times quoted Templer, as saying.

Bhutto was expected to assume that role, a move US officials believed would have bolstered Musharraf and US interests.

Now there are no obvious heirs. "We have a room full of tigers in Pakistan," one US official said.

"This is a really complicated situation, and we have to use our influence in a lot of ways but also realise we can't determine the outcome," the official added. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI

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