Officials Say Zardari Finally Ready to Cede Powers

Nearly 18 Months After Pledge, Will Zardari Finally Make Good?

Following a brief meeting with Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will reportedly finally make good on his long-standing campaign promise to return some of the powers claimed by the presidency to parliament.

The key to the move would be repealing Pakistan’s 17th amendment, a provision which the Pervez Musharraf junta pushed through to give Gen. Musharraf enormous powers in his role as President, ostenisbly a figurehead position under Pakistani law.

Zardari pledged such a move shortly after forming the coalition government with the Pakistani Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), but Zardari later abandoned his pledge to restore judges, seen as a first step to the Constitutional restoration, and the PML-N left for the opposition.

The move led to the Long March incident in March of this year, when Zardari attempted to exert direct control over much of the nation and ban the PML-N’s leadership from politics for its role in opposing the Musharraf Coup of 1999. Following mass protests, Zardari relented and restored the judiciary, setting the stage for returning powers to the Prime Minister position.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.