Islamabad, June 2 : Because of his apprehensions that the NRO issue would be reopened by the Supreme Court as soon as the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is restored, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is treading a cautious path in so far as taking bold steps like impeaching President Pervez Musharraf or restoring Supreme Court judges sacked by him (Musharraf), are concerned, said an article in The News.
As per the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), Musharraf had conceded to the PPP's demand of withdrawal of all cases pending against Benazir Bhutto and other PPP leaders.
According to it, Zardari has the fear of the known, more than the fear of the unknown, hence he takes one step forward and two steps backwards. He has already done so on the issue of the judges' restoration and is now doing the same in case of President Musharraf's impeachment, added the article.
Zardari's dilemma has led to further disillusionment amongst the masses and mounting of problems for the hard-pressed ordinary souls, said the article and added that those who know him personally, including his friends and close aides, say that he fears the worst so he is extremely careful and overly calculated. There is no dearth of people advising him to be bold but he believes more in the proverb: fools rush in where angels fear to tread, added the article.
Citing an example, it said that a couple of weeks ago he told an Indian news agency that Musharraf was "the relic of the past" and that people wanted him out, but now Zardari was "back to his fearful mould". Zardari's statement mounted the pressure on Musharraf and ignited the anti-Musharraf sentiments but it all evaporated in the air within no time and soon it was back to square one, it added.
Then, at a meeting with PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif at the Punjab House, he sounded enthusiastic to get Musharraf. The PML-N leaders present in the meeting were surprised to see the top PPP leader's eagerness to impeach Musharraf, but as soon as he was out of the Punjab House, Zardari had reverted to a "cautious" approach. Later, he never talked about impeaching Musharraf and parried questions posed by the media.
During the PPP-PML-N recent London parleys on the issue of the judges' restoration, a stage had come when the two parties had almost agreed to the restoration formula in line with the Murree Declaration. However, it all ended in a deadlock when the PPP side sought guarantees that after his reinstatement and before the introduction of the constitutional package, Justice Iftikhar would not reopen the issue of NRO.