Omar Waraich: Blasts put Zardari's aim in grim context

Share
Related Topics

As President Asif Ali Zardari pushed a package designed to promote political stability in Pakistan yesterday, there were two more brutal reminders of why that scarce commodity is urgently needed.

Apparently timed to coincide with the President's address to a joint session of parliament in Islamabad, the attacks can only strengthen the case for the proposed constitutional changes that would shift most of the president's powers to the prime minister. But, as security was stepped up for the unpopular leader's speech yesterday, many will have reflected that the benefits of the changes will be painfully slow in materialising.

After much political wrangling, the wide-ranging constitutional reform package has the united backing of Pakistan's political class. And even as it effaces the disfigurements of General Pervez Musharraf's military rule, it weakens his successor. Upon its passage, the President will be stripped of key powers, foremost among them is the power to dissolve parliament. The package also erects a barrier to prospective dictators, holding anyone who suspends the constitution guilty of high treason.

Mr Zardari's power will be greatly reduced as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani becomes the undisputed head of government. But Mr Zardari will retain crucial political influence, and may have enhanced his public standing.

The presidency afforded Mr Zardari the protocol of a head of state, but his true clout derives from being the head of the ruling Pakistan People's Party. The Prime Minister and the Government will remain amenable to his decisions.

Still, survival has come at a cost. Mr Zardari's receding into the background is merely the latest chapter in a slow erosion of the Government's overall authority.

And while Mr Zardari can breathe easily for the moment, challenges to his rule are unlikely to fade. The irascible Supreme Court is poised to rule on his eligibility as President, and his right to serve in that post and head a political party at the same time. In the meantime, the militant forces on the loose in the country's northwest will remain unpredictable and dangerous. Mr Zardari's power may have lessened, but his problems remain as intractable as ever.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Manager - North West - Registered Charity

£31800 - £35400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This registered charity's missi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an est...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative - OTE £55,000

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Why not be in charge of your ow...

Recruitment Genius: Business Operations Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Peac...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Channel 4's Married at First Sight  

Married At First Sight is the social experiment that proves we've forgotten how to fall in love

Ruby Thomas
Dolphin Square where Lord Sewel allegedly took drugs with prostitutes  

Lord Sewel's real crime was joining the House of Lords in the first place

Boris Corovic
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food