Zardari is more adept at political manoeuvring than governing

Pak Prez Zardari is more adept at "political manoeuvring" than at governing the country, US envoy Anne Patterson had written in an assessment.

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2010, 15:25 PM IST

Washington: Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari is more adept at "political manoeuvring" than at governing the country and was spending more time on his rivalry with Nawaz Sharif than on tackling insurgency and the economy, US envoy Anne Patterson had written in an assessment.

In a cable to US special envoy to Af-Pak Richard
Holbrooke, ambassador Anne Patterson, wrote that Pakistan was
not a failed state and had solid though weak institutions.

The cable dated February 4, 2009 was written ahead of
Holbrooke`s maiden trip to Pakistan in his new capacity,
following which he also visited India and Afghanistan.

"Zardari is more adept at political manoeuvring than
governing; we believe he is spending too much time on his
rivalry with Nawaz and too little time on rolling back a
spreading insurgency and improving a weak economy," the
diplomat is quoted as saying in the cable that is part of the
cache of secret documents released by WikiLeaks.

She also said that extremism is no longer restricted
to the border areas in Pakistan and was in fact spreading to
the Punjab region while raising concern that Pakistan military
has too few forces to fight too many battles at one time.

"We are seeing young Punjabi men turn up in FATA and
Afghanistan as fighters recruited from areas of southern
Punjab where poverty, illiteracy and despair create a breeding
ground for extremism... The phenomenon is spreading into
northern Sindh as well," she said.

Commenting on the state of Pakistan, she said "this is
not a failed state".

"Pakistan has solid albeit weak institutions, a robust
if often irresponsible media, established although
under-equipped police forces, an increasingly strong civil
society, and a population with a proven resiliency to
withstand everything from earthquakes to kleptocracy,"
Patterson wrote in the cable to Holbrooke.

She said after eight years of military rule, the
civilian government is working, "so far successfully", to
re-shape civilian-military relations.

"Although not a failed state, Pakistan needs
international help to stabilise civilian rule by building
democratic institutions and delivering relief to a population
suffering from food inflation, electricity blackouts, high
unemployment and deteriorating law and order," the cable said.
On the phenomenon of extremism spreading beyond the
border areas, she wrote Pashtuns fleeing military action in
FATA are destabilising the always volatile ethnic mix in
Karachi.

"Taliban leaders have been based in Quetta since the
days of the anti-Soviet jihad, but they now are expanding
their presence in Balochistan.
"The bad news is that the militants are driving the
agenda; the Pakistan military has too few forces to fight too
many battles at one time," she said.

PTI