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 Zardari backed into corner

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PostSubject: Zardari backed into corner   Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:51 am

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_460715.html

MABAD - PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari is coming under increasing pressure to resign or assume a ceremonial role as the prospect of political chaos looms large in Pakistan.

On Sunday, after he had relinquished command of the country's nuclear arsenal to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League demanded that he immediately hand over much of his remaining power.

It has not called for anti-government street rallies, perhaps wary of pushing the country into chaos and paving the way for further military rule.

Mr Zardari's sudden move, announced in a news release late on Friday night, was an all-out bid to head off domestic political pressure as his two-year presidency hit a new low.

His position was further weakened by the expiry on Saturday of an amnesty protecting him and some key allies from graft prosecution. Corruption allegations against him date back to governments led by his late wife, Ms Benazir Bhutto. He denies any wrongdoing.

He is also locked in a power struggle with the military, which has objected to his overtures to nuclear-armed rival India and his acceptance of a multibillion-dollar US aid Bill that came with terms it found unacceptable.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS

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