Zardari urged to relinquish powers

Opposition mounts pressure on Pakistani president following expiry of amnesty deal.

    Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday said Zardari must abolish the 17th constitutional amendment [AP]

    Zardari transferred command of the country's nuclear arsenal to Yousef Raza Gilani, the prime minister, on Friday and promised to surrender other key powers by the end of 2009, including the authority to fire an elected government and appoint top military chiefs.

    'Abolish amendment'

    Shahbaz, who is chief minister of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab, said Zardari must act now on promises he made earlier on abolishing the measure known as the 17th constitutional amendment.

    "I would ask the president to immediately abolish the 17th amendment," Sharif said to reporters in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

    "The nation would appreciate this act."

    Zaradari's deepening unpopularity has put Washington in a bind over its avowed commitment to political stability in Pakistan.

    If Zardari is forced from power, either on corruption charges or through a collapse of his ruling party, the US might have to deal with new leaders who are no better able to solve the country's problems.

    However, a military coup to oust Zardari appears unlikely, as does impeachment since he heads the largest party in parliament.

    The upheaval comes as the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, is expected to announce a new strategy this week for defeating the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan and on Pakistan's northwestern border.

    Zardari inherited sweeping presidential powers from General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power after a 1999 military coup and resigned last year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.