Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto acknowledged Thursday that she has met secretly with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf but said she was increasingly pessimistic about reaching a power-sharing deal with the leader.
Bhutto plans to return next month from self-exile to challenge Musharraf, who is seeking another term in presidential elections. She has threatened to withdraw her lawmakers from parliament if Musharraf does not compromise - for instance, by lifting a ban on her serving a third term as prime minister.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Bhutto said she and Musharraf have had "had an opportunity to meet, we've had a good rapport, a good exchange of ideas, but there are people around him who don't want this understanding, who don't want him to make the political concessions that are necessary to facilitate the path towards democracy."
Asked if she had met secretly with Musharraf, Bhutto said, "well, we were supposed to keep it secret, but it's kind of an open secret now."