President Musharraf is clearly sending a message that he is the top commander guy and Shraif was not an invited guest. Problem is, no one knows for how long with Musharraf's serious negotiations with his former rival, ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto still ongoing. She is planning a return. Musharraf came to office in a military coup. That could not have happened without the intelligence services cooperation. And the intelligence services are key to holding power in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Sharif thought that holding a photo-op at the airport with crowds of supporters who ultimately clashed with police, would sway Pakistanis. His charges of money laundering remain. Sharif exited Pakistan back to Jeddah, weeping. He wanted to be the one to overthrow Musharraf. Interestingly enough, Saudi Arabia asked Sharif to stay put in exile after the new Saudi intelligence chief met with the Pakistani president in Rawalpindi. (picture Earth Times)
"It is only Musharraf's ego and his stubborness that is standing in my way," Sharif told ARY TV Channel at the Islamabad Airport Lounge, as he waited for the authorities' plan of action after his aircraft landed from London.
Describing as painful the situation he was in, the 57-year-old PML(N) leader regretted that he and his supporters who accompanied him from London were not able to make any telephonic contact with the outside world after their arrival here.
"This indicates the sorry state of affairs in the country. Emigration should be allowed. I should get my vehicle and be allowed to start my journey," he said. Sharif had planned to hit the road to reach Lahore after reaching here.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a storied history together. Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI received an immeasurable amount of funding from Saudi Arabia's stealthy spy commander, the inscrutable, urbane and American-educated, Prince Turki. Until last year when he unexpectedly quit then hopped on a private jet enraged, Prince Turki was the Ambassador to the US replacing the rakish Bush family crony, Prince Bandar. Prince Turki is/was godfather for Osama bin Laden, who just happens to be releasing another you-should-be-scared-as-Hell, America - YouTube-style video today. OBL is considered by many to be somewhere in the ungovernable badlands of Pakistan, the country with real nukes.
The intelligence, family and political ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are legend. Saudi Arabia has funded a number of the strict Muslim madrassas in Pakistan. Surprise, surprise, Sharif returned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today to resume his exile and refurbish his résume. The national Pakistan political soap opera continues.
Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam details the struggle that continues today to hold together a coalition of strength to govern in Pakistan. This offering is from Zahid Hussain. More history on Pakistan and the intelligence service, especially with superb Pulitzer prize winners mentioned here.