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Sunday, 11 March 2007

One Bullet Away From What?

INSIDE Washington, the frustration of doing business with Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is matched only by the fear of living life without him.

For years, the notion that Mr. Musharraf is all that stands between Washington and a group of nuclear-armed mullahs has dictated just how far the White House feels it can push him to root out Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who enjoy a relatively safe existence in Pakistan.

The last time Pakistan went to the polls in 2002, religious political parties received just 11 percent of the vote, compared with more than 28 percent won by the secular party led by Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister.