I have kept my fingers crossed for Zardari’s departure for over a year now as President of Pakistan. For many of us, his departure will be the beginning of hope for our country. But do we have time to distract ourselves from the current Taliban crises in Pakistan to think of who is going to lead our country next? Will Kayani finally step up & use this opportunity to take the reins to keep our flag high? Or will there finally be a scrutiny, which would provide Pakistan with a meaningful democracy rather than today’s politicians who are the highest office without any ability & integrity? Oh wait, then there’s also Bilawal Bhutto who might realize that one year of education at Oxford is more than enough for him to be able to take over Pakistan.
I seem to be exploding with questions about Pakistan’s future right now and can only hope that the right solutions come into place soon. Check out today’s article in the Khaleej Times. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=§ion=editorial&xfile=data/editorial/2009/May/editorial_May4.xml
The Gloomy Days for Zardari
2 May 2009
The sun does not seem to be shining for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari these days. Despite the peak of summer approaching, this is not a good sign especially when the weather forecast is being read from the White House.
Barack Obama’s 100th day press conference infact delivered a sharp blow to Pakistan’s civilian government under Zardari. It has also spelt out a clear message of support to Pakistan’s military led by Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani. It is likely to sour Zardari’s forthcoming visit to Washington, where he is to attend the Trilateral Summit on May 6-7, along with his Afghan counterpart, President Hamid Karzai.
The surprising thing in Obama’s diatribe is that the US seems to have shifted support from the democratically elected civilian government. This reflects the disgruntlement in the US administration about the present civilian setup that despite a parliamentary system is being run from the presidency. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s periodic outbursts of independence remain very much under the president’s thumb, retaining his figurehead status.
President Obama has basically spelt out the loss of credibility in the US, of Pakistan’s political administration. Describing the civilian government as ‘fragile’, Obama cited the government’s lack of capacity to deliver even basic services in education, healthcare, security and a consensual judicial system for the people. Obama, further said, “As a consequence, it is very difficult for them (the government) to gain support and loyalty of their people.”
Even while castigating the government, the US president, has expressed confidence about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, that remain under tight control of the military, thus alleviating past concerns about them falling into the hands of militants. General Kayani, who enjoys considerable trust and confidence among the top US military and political leadership, is believed to be responsible for this development. Though the US remains concerned about expanding Taleban control within Pakistan, it seems to be rebuilding trust with the military that had suffered considerably in recent months.
Another significant point made by Obama related to Pakistan military’s moving away from an India-centric security threat focus to one that realised the danger and implications of the threat from internal militancy. In the meantime, fresh military operations against the Taleban in Lower Dir and Buner are underway in Pakistan, with the demise of the controversial Swat peace agreement looming large on the horizon.
The message for Zardari is to either shape up or ship out. Though the US has thrown its weight behind the military, Kayani is not likely to use this opportunity to take the reins.
He has proved his impartiality and chosen not to succumb to a military takeover during the judicial crisis recently in March. In all eventualities a likely change is to come through the political process that may see Zardari’s power greatly reduced, if not being shown the door.
*The picture has been taken from this link – http://media.canada.com/24be34eb-ecfe-4969-88c2-5aa898db4139/zardari%20online%20photo.jpg*