Analysts here believe that the Reagan Administration has been opening new lines of communication with Bhutto in recent months, and Bhutto has been courting the Americans in an effort to make clear that she is neither anti-American nor a socialist, as Zia has suggested. In an interview this week, she said that despite the opposition's dissatisfaction with U.S. support for Zia, "We are not in the least anti-U.S., and we believe the United States has a tremendous role to play in the development of Pakistan."
She said that she and her Pakistan People's Party were "tremendously encouraged" by Secretary of State George P. Shultz's recent statement that Zia must permit free elections soon or risk damaging his relations with Washington.
"This is a big switch-over, as far as we're concerned," she said. "Zia has been the American man for so long, and here we see some very encouraging new signs."
Bhutto's political savvy has its roots in her upbringing and education. She holds degrees from both Harvard and Oxford universities.
A friend of the family, Naheed Khan, said: "Benazir's father indicated several times . . . that he was grooming Benazir as his successor. Once . . . Mr. Bhutto said of Benazir: 'She is not my daughter. She is my son.' This is probably the biggest difference between Benazir Bhutto and Corazon Aquino. Aquino was not a politician; she was thrown into power by accident. Benazir Bhutto has been a politician all her life."