Criticism of Zardari in Pakistan hides a political game
By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, August 7, 2010, Islamabad
The Pakistani media's criticism of President Asif Ali Zardari over his visit to the United Kingdom has been unprecedented. Newspapers and television news have criticised him for being absent when Pakistan was struck by the worst floods in living memory.
While the president has been out of the country, more than 1,500 people have been killed and scores of villages have been swept away.
Over four million people have been displaced. They now face hunger and disease.
In the initial days of the disaster the government failed to provide any response, and now the politicians are being heavily criticised for it.
In contrast, the media repeatedly drove home the point that, while the army's response was also inadequate given the scale of the disaster, at least the soldiers were out there.
The absent president has been criticised by the international media for his apparent indifference. But in Pakistan, the media's scorn has a deeper meaning and motive. It hints at tensions between the country's civilian democracy and the powerful military establishment.
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Pakistan floods: army steps into breach as anger grows at Zardari - Guardian
Pakistan Aid Places U.S. in the Midst of a Divide - NYT (Oct 12, 2009)
Zardari's Katrina By Fatima Bhutto - Foreign Policy
Days of rogue spies are over: Zardari - Daily Times