- Plans are afoot to take away his powers to dismiss governments and dissolve a popular House. This would make him a ceremonial president.
- The Supreme Court under the new Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry could squash the NRO and renew the corruption cases against him.
- Old guard in PPP could unite to challenge his leadership.
- Foreign powers, including the US, could shift support to Sharif.
- But Zardari is scheming to stall Chaudhry's return to the Supreme Court and throw out Gilani.
- Muster majority in Punjab, prevent Sharifs from forming government.
- The nation is unlikely to accept such steps, could force him out.
***Looking out the window of President's House on Constitutional Avenue, President Asif Ali Zardari must have thought he was under attack. Massive steel barriers blocked all roads leading to Constitutional Avenue, security personnel were out in full force, and not a body out of uniform was visible. This was the road where the hordes marching from Lahore and other cities were to converge on March 16, demanding the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, withdrawal of Governor's rule in Punjab, and removal of the ban on Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, from contesting elections. The countrywide uproar, though, was also a direct expression of the mounting anger against Zardari's dictatorial tendencies.
For, like all dictators, he believed he could crush a people's movement with the state's might. Elderly women like human rights activist Tahira Abdullah were dragged from their beds and thrown behind bars. Popular TV channels were taken off the air. But, in the end, to stem the...