This is from the NY Times. This a bit unusual for a prominent Western mainstream news outlet. Usually articles are very much pro-Bhutto. One thing you cannot fault her with and that is lacking courage. In fact if anything she is lacking in caution. Musharaff is not just making up the fact that she may face suicide attacks against her and her supporters.
Bhutto’s Persona Raises Distrust, as Well as Hope
David Guttenfelder/Associated Press
The Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, above, climbed into her vehicle after joining a protest Saturday in Islamabad.
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By JANE PERLEZ
Published: November 11, 2007
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 10 — A day after she was barricaded in her home, surrounded by police officers and barbed wire, the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was quickly back to a world to which she is more accustomed on Saturday.
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Closely Watched, Bhutto Is Allowed to Move (November 11, 2007)
By the evening Ms. Bhutto was guest of honor at a high-flying diplomatic reception in the Parliament building here, greeting ambassadors and exchanging nods before television cameras, even as anxieties about the future of Pakistan, now entering its second week of de facto martial law, intensified at home and abroad.
If the sudden turnabout seemed incongruous with the troubles that have befallen her nation, it was telling of just how fluid the crisis here remains — and of how easily Ms. Bhutto moves from rallying her supporters on the streets to soaking up the trappings of power and ceremony with which she has long been familiar.
Such paradoxes have only added to the skepticism that swirls around her here, less than a month after her return from eight years in exile to avoid corruption charges. And it has added to the speculation that, tense as the situation remains, she and her old nemesis, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, may yet have enough ambition in common to run Pakistan together.
Ms. Bhutto, 54, returned to Pakistan to present herself as the answer to the nation’s troubles: a tribune of democracy in a state that has been under military rule for eight years, and the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party, founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers.
But her record in power, and the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return — one moment standing up to General Musharraf, then next seeming to accommodate him, and never quite revealing her actual intentions — has stirred as much distrust as hope among Pakistanis.
A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, she brings the backing of Washington and London, where she impresses with her political lineage, her considerable charm and her persona as a female Muslim leader.
But with these accomplishments, Ms. Bhutto also brings controversy, and a legacy among Pakistanis as a polarizing figure who during her two turbulent tenures as prime minister, first from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996, often acted imperiously and impulsively.
She also faces deep questions about her personal probity in public office, which have resulted in corruption cases against her in Switzerland, Spain and Britain, as well as in Pakistan.
Ms. Bhutto has long seen herself as the inheritor of her father’s mantle, her colleagues say, and she has talked often about how he encouraged her to study the lives of legendary female leaders ranging from Indira Gandhi to Joan of Arc.
Following the idea of big ambition, Ms. Bhutto calls herself chairperson for life of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, a seemingly odd title in an organization based on democratic ideals and one she has acknowledged quarreling over with her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, in the early 1990s.
Saturday night at the diplomatic reception, Ms. Bhutto showed how she could aggrandize. Three million people came out to greet her in Karachi on her return last month, she said, calling it Pakistan’s “most historic” rally. In fact, crowd estimates were closer to 200,000, many of them provincial party members who had received small amounts of money to make the trip.
It is such flourishes that lead to questioning in Pakistan about the strength of her democratic ideals in practice, and a certain distrust, particularly amid signs of back-room deal-making with General Musharraf, the military ruler she is said to oppose.
“She believes she is the chosen one, that she is the daughter of Bhutto and everything else is secondary,” said Feisal Naqvi, a corporate lawyer in Lahore who knows Ms. Bhutto.
When Ms. Bhutto was re-elected to a second term as Prime Minister, her style of government combined both the traditional and the modern, said Zafar Rathore, a senior civil servant at the time.
But her view of the role of government differed little from the classic notion in Pakistan that the state was the preserve of the ruler who dished out favors to constituents and colleagues, he recalled.
As secretary of interior, responsible for the Pakistani police force, Mr. Rathore, who is now retired, said he tried to get an appointment with Ms. Bhutto to explain the need for accountability in the force. He was always rebuffed, he said.
Finally, when he was seated next to her in a small meeting, he said to her, “I’ve been waiting to see you,” he recounted. “Instantaneously, she said: ‘I am very busy, what do you want. I’ll order it right now.’“
She could not understand that a civil servant might want to talk about policies, he said. Instead, he said, “she understood that when all civil servants have access to the sovereign, they want to ask for something.”
Today Ms. Bhutto still rules the party with an iron hand, jealously guarding her position, even while leading the party in absentia for nearly a decade.
While Ms. Bhutto has managed to maintain much of her freedom of movement this week, her biggest rival in the party, Aitzaz Ahsan, the leader of the lawyers’ movement against General Musharraf, was jailed on the first night of the emergency rule.
Mr. Ahsan is a Cambridge University-educated lawyer who served in her father’s cabinet, and then hers, and he defended Ms. Bhutto in a series of corruption cases in the early 1990s.
But in an illustration of Ms. Bhutto’s attitude to competition, he was quickly frozen out by Ms. Bhutto after he was introduced around Washington last year as a possible counterbalance to General Musharraf, senior members of the party said.
Mr. Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Ahsan, said Ms. Bhutto, a frequent e-mailer who is addicted to her Blackberry, failed to congratulate her husband when he won the case to reinstate the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in July.
Both men have spearheaded the resistance to General Musharraf’s military rule this year at great personal risk.
When Mr. Ahsan won election as the leader of the Supreme Court Bar Association this month, again he heard nothing from Ms. Bhutto, Ms. Ahsan said. “She has not shown any approval of my husband,” Ms. Ahsan said.
Members of her party who have rallied around Ms. Bhutto on her return argue that she has attributes in Pakistan’s sparse political landscape that make her the best choice against General Musharraf. Chief among them, they say, is sheer determination.
“I’ve tried to suggest to her that Musharraf is not willing to share power,” said Syeda Abida Hussain, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington. “If he can dodge the world, why can’t he dodge you?” Ms. Hussain said she asked Ms. Bhutto.
But in returning to Pakistan, Ms. Bhutto believed that it was possible to join General Musharraf in some kind of transition to democracy, she said.
Of Ms. Bhutto’s personal qualities, Ms. Hussain said: “I see her as a vulnerable, hurt person. She’s a chilly, imperial person. She’s firm.”
In the last few months, as she has prepared her comeback, Ms. Bhutto has attended a swirl of public and private events, including a black-tie dinner for 150 at the Royal Air Force Club in London, and she has sought to bring her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, back into the public fold.
Ms. Bhutto’s marriage to Mr. Zardari was arranged by her mother, a fact that Ms. Bhutto has often said was easily explained, even for a modern, highly educated Pakistani woman.
To be acceptable to the Pakistani public as a politician she could not be a single woman, and what was the difference, she has asked, between such a marriage and computer dating?
Ms. Hussain, the former ambassador, described Mr. Zardari as “a warm-hearted fool,” who lacked Ms. Bhutto’s education. He is known for his love of polo and other perquisites of the good life like fine clothes, expensive restaurants, homes in Dubai and London, and an apartment in New York.
He was minister of investment in Ms. Bhutto’s second government. And it was from that perch that he made many of the deals that have haunted the couple in the courts, said a former prosecutor general at the National Accountability Court, Farooq Adam Khan, who in 2000 headed the body set up to investigate corruption among public officials.
In an interview, he said the court believed the couple had illegally taken $1.5 billion from the state. It is a figure that Ms. Bhutto has vigorously contested.
Indeed, one of Ms. Bhutto’s main objectives in seeking to return to power is to restore the reputation of her husband, who was jailed for eight years in Pakistan, said Abdullah Riar, a former senator in the Pakistani Parliament and a former colleague of Ms. Bhutto’s.
“She told me, ‘Time will prove he is the Nelson Mandela of Pakistan,’” Mr. Riar said.
One of Ms. Bhutto’s informal advisers is a longtime friend, Peter W. Galbraith, a former senior staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former American ambassador to Croatia.
Mr. Galbraith said he and Ms. Bhutto believed they first met in 1962 when they were children: he the son of John Kenneth Galbraith, the American ambassador to India; she the daughter of the future Pakistani prime minister. Mr. Galbraith’s father was accompanying Jacqueline Kennedy to a horse show in Lahore.
They met again at Harvard, where Mr. Galbraith remembers Ms. Bhutto arriving as a prim 16-year-old fresh from a Karachi convent who liked to bake cakes.
Cohabitation — with Ms. Bhutto as prime minister and General Musharraf as president — made a lot of sense for Ms. Bhutto and the Bush administration before last week, Mr. Galbraith said.
As prime minister, Ms. Bhutto would not be able to control the military, the institution that mattered most in Pakistan, he said. But she would confer legitimacy to a government that has seen its authority steadily erode under General Musharraf.
By this weekend, with General Musharraf giving little sign of when he would let up on his emergency powers, Ms. Bhutto was straddling a fine line, Mr. Galbraith said.
“Now,” he said, “Benazir can only cohabit with him at great cost to her legitimacy.”