Zardari may 'pull a Putin' to become Prime Minister: Foreign Policy magazine

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Washington, Dec.6 (ANI): With the pressure from the opposition mounting and relentless attacks being carried out by a hostile media, chances are that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari may try to replicate Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and opt to step down, a report in the Foreign Policy magazine said.

Since last month calls for Zardari to step down have increased following the release of a list of names of politicians who benefited from an amnesty law known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). The controversial ordinance expired on November 28.

According to sources, amid the heightening pressure 'Zardari could "pull a Putin," whereby he cedes power to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and then, as head of his party, makes a play to have himself elected to that post.'

However, the sources suggested that it is too early to predict that how successful such a move might be.

There are also reports about the powerful Pakistani Army readying a move against the President, which is based on the perception that he is moving too close to the US.

But the magazine said that military's intention to topple Zardari is not backed by the State Department leadership.

There has also been reporting that the military is readying a move against Zardari based on the perception that he is complicit in compromising Pakistani sovereignty by moving too close to the United States.

But the perception that the military has either the will or the intent to upend Zardari isn't shared by the US State Department leadership, and experts also believe that though weakened, Zardari would continue on the chair for the time being.

"Zardari is a very shrewd person in that sense and I think he is going to make a deal with Nawaz Sharif in order to stay in power, but he probably has to give up something," said Barmak Pazhwak, programme officer at the United States Institute of Peace.

Some analysts opined that there are differences in the Army regarding taking action against the Presidency.

"Some surely want to take on Zardari and are suspicious of his seemingly growing relationship with the West. Others see Zardari as manageable and don't think it wise to wage a battle with the president at the same time they are fighting off increasing attacks from extremists," the magazine quoted one analyst, as saying.

Moreover, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also does not appear to be that interested in Zardari's ouster.

"The situation in Pakistan is sometimes called 'managed instability' and that's the way it's likely to stay," added one Pakistani source privy to the issue. (ANI)

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