'Legal woes weakening Zardari's grip on power, diluting Pak's war against extremism'

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Islamabad, Nov.27 (ANI): With the Non-Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which offered amnesty to President against any legal cases, now rendered defunct, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari may well find himself in deep trouble and eventually out of the Presidency.

Failure to table the controversial ordinance in Parliament, which would have helped him secure amnesty against court cases, has left Zardari along with hundreds of politicians and bureaucrats at the mercy of the supreme judiciary.

With the opposition vying for his blood and a powerful military along with a hostile media, which regularly splashes reports about Zardari's corruption tale, it probably can not get worse than this for the President.

"The timing could not be worse for Zardari. His relationship with the powerful military establishment is under strain; a hostile media routinely advances fresh allegations of corruption; and growing anti-Americanism, fuelled by conspiracy theories on Washington's intentions in the region, has left him portrayed as a stooge," Time magazine said.

However, it is not clear whether the corruption charges could actually push Zardari out of power, but his chair has surely started shaking, it added.

Constitutionally, no harm can be done to Zardari as he cannot be served with any warrant, but there are leaders who believe that the President should himself step down and face the charges in order to maintain the dignity of the office.

"As long as he's in this office, he cannot be served with a warrant. But there is also a moral position - he holds the highest office in the land. For the dignity of that office, he's morally bound, if morality means anything to him, to leave his office and face the charges," the magazine quoted Khwaja Muhammad Asif, a prominent Pakistan Muslim League-Naawaz (PML-N) lawmaker, as saying.

Uncertainty still surrounds Zardari's days in office, but one thing is sure that the ongoing anti-President campaign has weakened his clutch on power and is certainly distracting attention from the more important issue of militancy.

"Whatever the outcome of Zardari's latest round of legal troubles and the political crisis they portend, their effect is likely to be a further weakening of his grip on power and more distraction from Pakistan's war against extremism," the magazine said. (ANI)

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