In less than 6 months at Pakistan's helm, Asif Ali Zardari has surrounded himself with cronies, alienated top advisers, and created a situation that has diplomats warning that he's undercutting efforts to oppose al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Benazir Bhutto's widower is holed up inside his palace, and cabinet ministers who venture there risk public insult: He called one "impotent" and told another to "shut up," the Wall Street Journal reports
Zardari's latest move—dismissing a provincial government yesterday following a court ruling against his political opposition—led to a 5% drop in Pakistan's stock exchange. Through a spokesman, Zardari denied that he is fueling disputes and reiterated a commitment to unite the fractious nation. Says one frustrated senator, "This is what you come to expect at the presidency. You go there and you are insulted."