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Pak Prez’s powers being reduced

world Updated: Jan 16, 2010 01:11 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Pakistan’s political horizon is undergoing a gradual shift in terms of who calls the shots as president Asif Ali Zardari gradually gives away his powers to prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in a bid to retain the presidency.

This week, a constitutional reform committee has agreed to transfer the authority of appointing services chiefs from the PM. The decision was made unanimously by all the major political parties. It is a significant concession but one that Zardari needed to make in order to appease his critics.

In November, Zardari removed himself from the nuclear chain of command, transferring his authority to the prime minister. In contrast to Zardari, who is seen as being isolated, the political fortunes of Gilani are on the rise. This week it was he who gained mileage by stating in parliament that the U.S. cannot win a war in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s support.

At the same time he criticised measures in place by the U.S. to profile Pakistani airline passengers, terming the move as “insulting.”