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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Najam Sethi's Analysis: Zardari Next?

Their first demand is the restoration of the judges, including Iftikhar Chaudhry. In this they will have the support of the lawyers movement and most of the media. But I don’t think Mr Zardari will succumb to this demand quickly. Instead, he is likely to reiterate his position that there should be a constitutional amendment covering the restoration of the judges, ousting of the president’s power under 58-2B and indemnifying the Musharraf era which included the NRO and the current Supreme Court headed by Justice Hameed Dogar. This will lead to another round of uncertainty which throws the country into a spin again.

Their second disagreement is likely to be over the nomination and election of the next president. Mr Zardari has said time and again he thinks it is the PPP’s right to appoint a person of its choice. Mr Sharif insists otherwise. Mr Zardari’s candidate may be Mrs Faryal Talpur, his sister, who is an accomplished politician in her own right, and a Sindhi as opposed to the Punjabi prime minister. But they could jointly end up fielding either someone from Balochistan or the NWFP as a compromise candidate. If that fails, Mr Sharif could go his own way and put up Ghaus Ali Shah who has rushed home on Mr Sharif’s orders after a voluntary seven-year exile.

Will the coalition survive these problems? I can’t imagine it will break apart tomorrow. They mean to torture us some more before they start torturing each other. But it cannot endure for long now that the Musharrafian glue that held them together is gone. Unfortunately, since Mr Zardari is in the driving seat, all the blame will be heaped on him for all the accidents that are bound to occur ahead. More


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