Pakistan's new President Asif Ali Zardari may face threat from his country's army which remains unwilling to counter a resurgent Taliban effectively, a leading thinktank claimed on Thursday.
"The Pakistani army remains unable or unwilling to counter effectively the resurgent Taliban and Zardari's major challenge is to gain the trust of the army which in turn may pose a threat to him," the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Thursday.
"Zardari's top priority is to fight terrorism and Islamist militancy in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan," said John chipman, head of the prestigious London-based thinktank, launching the Strategic Survey-2008 report.
"But the Pakistani army remains unable or unwilling to counter effectively the resurgent Taliban with over 110,000 troops deployed in the area."
Chipman said Zardari's major challenge would be to gain the trust of the army and build a consensus against terrorism and Islamist extremism among the political establishment.
"To pursue the campaign on terror, he will need to balance the conflicting interests of growing US pressure for military strikes in the tribal areas with the Pakistani army's decreasing tolerance for such attacks.
"Most importantly, President Zardari will have to ensure that the ensuing domestic political turbulance, heightened by the growing economic crisis,does not place his own government at risk from the army," Chipman said.