Profiles of Asif Zardari - Strongest Presidential Candidate
Chart Source: Dawn
A window of opportunity for Zardari
By ARIF NIZAMI, September 5, 2008
LAHORE - In the days to come Mr Asif Ali Zardari is poised to take oath as democratically elected President of Pakistan. Being the Co-Chairman of the ruling party and armed with the powers he has, thanks to the draconian 17th Amendment, he will be one of the most powerful civilian presidents in our parliamentary history. Apart from having the right to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve the parliament under Article 58(2)b, he will have the power to appoint the Army Chief. Paradoxically despite the now stalled lawyers' movement for the restoration of the Chief Justice, rarely in our history has the president enjoyed such a pliant superior judiciary.
Mr Zardari starts his presidency with a trust deficit. His credibility with his erstwhile coalition partners, the Sharifs, is an all-time low. All this can be partly explained away by years of media campaign and real or perceived persecution of Mr Zardari on different charges most of them handiwork of Mr Saifur Rehman, head of the so-called Accountability Bureau under the then premier Mian Nawaz Sharif.
Mr Zardari's obvious handicap could also prove a window of opportunity for him. He can simply turn this into his biggest advantage by confounding his critics. This would require some out-of-box thinking which unfortunately has not been the hallmark of successive PPP regimes including the present one. There is no rocket science involved in fixing the ship of the State, which right now is rudderless, creaky and leaking, and if there was a measure of the feel good factor about the country it is at an all time low.
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