‘Zardari eyeing Pakistani presidency’

May 31st, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 31 (IANS) Pakistan’s ruling coalition has reached an agreement on turning the heat on President Pervez Musharraf to pave the way for Asif Ali Zardari, co-chair of alliance leader Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to ascend to the office, a newspaper report said Saturday. In line with the new understanding between the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), “both parties will build up immense pressure on Musharraf, leaving him with no other option but to resign without any condition”, The News reported, quoting highly credible sources privy to the developments.

“Once the objective is achieved, Asif Zardari would be elected the new president to ensure continuity of the political process and implementation of the people-friendly agenda of both the parties,” the newspaper added.

Zaradri and PML chief Nawaz Sharif had also agreed to put on the backburner for the time being the contentious issues of restoring the Supreme Court and High Court judges Musharraf had sacked after declaring an emergency last November, the sources said.

“As the military establishment as well as the United States of America, Saudi Arabia and even China are against any move to impeach the president, the political leadership of both the parties has decided not to annoy them and instead subject the president to immense pressure to resign,” The News quoted its sources as saying.

“This was a give-and-take move for both the leaders which suited the agenda of both the parties in the current scenario. Through a smart political move, Asif Zardari has diverted the pressure of the lawyers’ long march, thus killing two birds with one stone,” the sources added.

An umbrella group of Pakistani lawyers has threatened to take out a long march from Islamabad to the General Headquarters in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi on June 10 to demand the immediate reinstatement of the sacked judges.

In Zardari’s scheme of things, the PPP and the PML-N too will join the march - to convert it into one against Musharraf to demand he resign.

“The big question, however, remains how the military establishment would cope with the massive public pressure when the two mainstream political parties would be marching on Rawalpindi side-by-side with the excited lawyers and civil society organisations”, The News quoted its sources as saying.

The changed strategy reflects the political acumen of Zardari, who is well known in political circles as a “cool customer”, The News noted.

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