PM Zardari?

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

PM Zardari?

PAKISTAN is slowly but steadily engaging the election gear. With the major political faces resurfacing all too frequently, one party leader or the other is seen to be flexing his muscles in full media view. If it was Imran Khan a couple of weeks ago with his rallies and marches into South Waziristan, making noises against the American drone strikes, now it is the turn of former prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari. While Sharif's pitch is definitely for himself as PM, Zardari has his "minions" to market him. For the first time, his name has been proposed for the office of PM.

Pakistan's information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira made no bones about proposing Zardari's name for PM for the 2013 elections. Daily Times reported on November 28: "no bar could be imposed on political activities of President Asif Zardari as he is an elected president... in the past, the presidency had been used to attack democratically elected governments... if Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf could become prime minister then why could not Asif Ali Zardari be the premier of the country while he had the complete authority to do so...?" Zardari is often billed as a president a tad too political for a parliamentary type of government. Kaira advocated Zardari's case here too, reported Dawn, and clarified that Zardari was a "political president and not a president who was a conspirator."

State of the man

NAWAZ SHARIF earned more than mere brownie points in the papers because of his "mature" politics in a nation accustomed to political mudslinging. An interview he gave to a private TV channel has won him generous acclaim. The Nation reported on November 27: "Nawaz Sharif has said that President Asif Ali Zardari is a constitutional president and Zardari can administer oath to the new PM... When asked if he is elected as PM... would he take oath administered by president Zardari... Nawaz said Zardari was a democratically elected president and a working relationship with him was possible."

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