Welcome back to the Hotel Saudifornia

Where the hosts are very hospitable

AFP adds: Nawaz later arrived in Jeddah, where the official SPA news agency reported: “Nawaz Sharif is a guest of Saudi Arabia, which welcomed his coming to live in the kingdom once again.” He was greeted by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin, SPA said. [DT]

4 thoughts on “Welcome back to the Hotel Saudifornia”

  1. Perhaps there are conflicting reports. But, from what I read in a Times article, Sharif chose detention in Pakistan over deportation to Arabia.

    Although there’s always the risk of torture by ISI honchos, Sharif probably sensed the changing mood and would have relied on the international media brouhaha to increase pressure on Musharraf…thereby accelerating his demise. You can just imagine Sharif’s supporters camping outside his party’s HQ and the images being relayed to countless living rooms throughout the world.

    Musharraf’s camp sensed this and as they didn’t want any further troubles, they deported him anyway. Mushy’s definitely won in the short-term and Nawaz Sharif is a bit of a lame duck.

    Let’s not forget Benazir Bhutto, something about the media coverage tells me they’ve cut a very healthy power-sharing deal. This way, both Mushy and Ms. Bhutto can share power with one potent opponent out of the way.

  2. Valentina,

    Let’s not put too much stock in the Musharraf regime’s line that Sharif was offered a choice between arrest and exile. It’s absurd, because, by coming back, Sharif had already rejected exile as an option. His pre-flight interviews in London suggest that he was aware of the possibility of being arrested, and nevertheless decided to return. [He could scarcely have believed that Musharraf’s regime would simply let him in]

    Musharraf’s camp won in the short term? Well, I’d say this depends on how the Supreme Court reacts. From the CJ’s statements, it looks like Musharraf is in greater trouble than he would have been facing Nawaz Sharif.

    You are right on the Benazir-Musharraf combo, which is clearly backed by the United States. Unfortunately, it appears to be too late for that. If Benazir cannot join hands with Musharraf now without being seen as part of the problem by the Pakistani people. She can be ‘elected’ only with heavy rigging, and that’ll endear neither her, nor the US to the people. The Supreme Court could intervene…

    As I said, this is an acid test for the Supreme Court. Will it cave in to pressure from the Saudis and Americans, or sacrifice justice at the altar of ‘stability’, or live up to its newfound independence?

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