President Musharraf has struck a deal with former Prime Minister Bhutto. He will allow her to return to Pakistan and run as Prime Minister. Musharraf will reduce his dictatorial powers over the country and will reach out to share power with the democratic opposition.

Musharraf is stuck between two movements – the pro-democracy advocates and the Taliban. The three parties are in a rought balance of power. The Democrats do not want to immediately overthrow Musharraf because they fear the Taliban. Musharraf so far has only contained the Taliban.

A democracy movement right now that works with Musharraf will be very helpful in the ongoing war against the Taliban. The radicals will do poorly in the elections and this will help discredit them.

President Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan’s exiled former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, have struck an outline power-sharing deal to run Pakistan, ministers said.

Under the reported agreement, struck late on Friday night, Gen Musharraf would step down as commander in chief of the country’s armed forces but would be able to retain the presidency.

Mrs Bhutto would be permitted to return to the country to stand in parliamentary elections, and the constitution would be changed to allow her to become prime minister for a third term.

Bhutto will call for Presidential elections eventually. Musharraf will probably step down at that point.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed described the meeting as “successful” and Sher Afghan Niazi said: “The ice has definitely melted and both of them have agreed to accommodate each other to steer the country out of the present crisis of religious militancy.”

If both intend to unite to defeat the Taliban, so be it. This is good news.

Democracy is much more robust than a military dictatorship. The US will not longer worry if Musharraf is assassinated, because a single assassination will not bring down a democratic government.