Weakness at Top Worsens Pakistan's Woes

Zardari has alienated party allies and foes alike: officials
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 26, 2009 12:19 PM CST
Zardari, right, confers a civilian award to visiting Joe Biden in Islamabad. Washington is likely concerned about the political infighting distracting Pakistan from fighting terrorists.   (AP Photo/Press Information Department, HO)
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(Newser) – 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."
(Read more Pakistan stories.)