Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf may continue to describe his United States counterpart and Republican George W Bush as his "good friend" but his family seems to be backing Democrat frontrunner Barack Obama in the American presidential race with generous donations. Musharraf's brother and son, who are based in the US, have been making generous donations to Obama who is a strong opponent of the Bush administration.
Naveed Musharraf, the Pakistani President's brother, and Irum Bilal Musharraf, his daughter-in-law, have reportedly given donations to Obama instead of Bush's Republican Party's presumptive candidate Senator John McCain.
According to US Federal Election Commission records, Musharraf's family has never been supportive of Republicans in terms of donations. They supported Senator John Kerry in his presidential bid against George Bush when he ran for his second term in 2004, The News reported.
It is well known within the Pakistani community in the US that Musharraf's family settled in America, including his son Bilal, have been quietly asking him to revise his decision to continue fighting for his position despite the February 18 election results in which all political parties opposed to the military ruler won a heavy mandate. Bilal was among the well-wishers offering advice to the President, a source close to family said.
After the proclamation of last year's emergency, there was a tremendous rise in anti-Musharraf protests staged by Pakistani-Americans. When Stanford university students planned a similar protest, their colleague Bilal requested them to drop the idea, saying he would personally convey their sentiments to his father, the source said.
Bilal is a student at Stanford University, which has a special quota for the children of world leaders. Naveed Musharraf is an anaesthesiologist based in Chicago and is politically affiliated to the Democratic Party. Naveed contributed for Obama when he contested an Illinois Senate seat and gave donations to Senator Kerry when he made a presidential bid.
According to the Election Commission's records, Irum resides in Oak Brook city of Illinois state. There is another
family member, Nancy Musharraf, but her relationship with the President could not be ascertained.
Naveed has been in Chicago for the past 34 years. His wife Linda, a Philippino-American, died in 2005. His two sons, Zarar and Ather, are college students, according to a newspaper report. Naveed is a member of the South Asian Group of Action and Reflection, a Chicago-based think-tank on South Asia.