ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and chief of a major opposition party Nawaz Sharif is far more popular than President Asif Ali Zardari, but he cannot topple the government with street power, according to new US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
In a diplomatic dispatch dated June 20, 2008, former US ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson said that President Zardari is not a popular leader and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is playing a key role in steering the country out of a series of crisis.
According to the new cables, whenever there is a need for a broader parliamentary alliance to tackle national challenges, Premier Gilani is at the forefront.
President Zardari realises his shortcomings and accepts that he is not a popular leader and has no previous experience of holding such a high public office.
According to the dispatches, the government formed after the elections has gained stability.
Although Nawaz Sharif enjoys greater public support but he lacks the ability to dislodge the government.
According to a dispatch, Zardari partially regained public support after restoring Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and initiating the army action against Taliban.
On a personal level, a dispatch said, President Zardari wants Pakistan to have better relations with India, however he cannot proceed without the military’s endorsement.
He is proceeding with caution because he does not want to be considered someone who wants to initiate dialogue on Kashmir at a time when a large number of Pakistani troops are deployed on the country’s western border.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2010.