ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Stalled talks on a deal between Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf and former premier Benazir Bhutto are expected to resume soon, with the venue moving to Dubai, ministers said on Monday.
Negotiations held in London last week between the two-time prime minister and president Musharraf’s top aides ended in deadlock, with Bhutto saying that she would fly back to the crisis-hit Islamic republic regardless.
“Our stand is that dialogue should continue,” Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani told AFP, despite the failure so far to thrash out a power-sharing deal between the embattled general and his bitter rival.
He confirmed that Musharraf’s top aide was in the Gulf emirate and said that it would “probably” be the venue for further discussions, as reported in several newspapers here.
The talks ran into trouble after the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Party opposed Bhutto’s demands that Musharraf should quit as army chief before being re-elected for another five-year term as president.
Bhutto said he should also cede his powers to dissolve parliament, allow premiers to serve a third term and give an amnesty to herself and other politicians covering her two terms in power between 1989 and 1996.
“It is expected that the talks will be resumed,” deputy information minister Tariq Azeem told AFP.
Azeem said some of Bhutto’s demands were “unrealistic” but would not elaborate, adding only: “If the demands are realistic, there are more chances of reaching an understanding.”
Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party confirmed that the ex-premier would be in Dubai late Monday. But spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP the visit was “not linked to the dialogue”.
Bhutto held secret talks with Musharraf in Abu Dhabi in July.
She said on Saturday that she would end her self-imposed exile over corruption charges and announce the date of her return on September 14.