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Pakistan: After Lahore attack, Zardari's exit is certain
March 06, 2009
Two sets of scenarios are possible in the days ahead, all of which, incidentally, make Zardari the fall guy.
The scenarios stem from the prevailing economic, security and political situation in
One of the scenarios, which is least disturbing, and not necessarily bad for the people who had voted for democracy in the February 2008 elections, is the ouster of Zardari as president while retaining Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and the Pakistan People's Party-led government in Islamabad [Images]. Over-ambitious and desperate, Zardari has been gambling away the people's mandate, and the army's confidence in him, quite recklessly. In a little over six months of his rule, Zardari has managed to transform himself from 'Mr 10 per cent' to 'Mr 100 per cent liability', not only to the country, the army, and the people, but also to its own party.
For all his cunning, Zardari's plan to oust the Sharif brothers with the help of his crony judges in the Supreme Court was timed badly. It was quite obvious that such an action was bound to attract a violent reaction from the Sharifs who have considerable support in
There are indications that the
The Pakistan army chief was also sounded out about the possibility of taking charge of the situation if it turned worse in the months ahead. By all accounts, Kayani is reluctant to take charge at the moment; the ignominious exit of his predecessor, General Pervez Musharraf [Images], is too fresh in the collective memory of the people. The army is keen to clear up its image sullied during Musharraf's last two years and will prefer not to take up the political challenge at a time when such a move will definitely be against popular sentiments. A coup by Kayani, therefore, is a remote possibility but cannot be discounted if the situation in
A change in
Wilson John is Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation.