Suicide Bomber Kills 58 outside Munitions Plant; Zardari Candidate for President

The Tehrik-i Taliban responded to Pakistani military operations against it at Bajaur by sending a suicide bomber to attack workers leaving a munitions factory. Some 57 are dead and 70 wounded.

The Pakistan People’s Party, the largest party in parliament, has reportedly decided to seek to get its de facto leader, Asaf Ali Zardari, elected as the new president. Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, might be able to count on a sympathy vote in parliament.

Although the wrangling over who will be president is being reported in the US press as a crisis, I don’t see it that way. It is, rather, an ordinary political process in which eventually there will be a winner who will garner enough votes to be elected. No one is brandishing a gun over all this to my knowledge. You might as well call the current presidential campaign in the US to determine who will succeed George W. Bush a crisis. There is an interim president,and if the process takes a while, it will just give the prime minister a chance to garner more executive power, which would be all to the good. In the aftermath, I hope that the special prerogatives of the presidency, rooted in martial law amendments of the 1980s, can finally be gotten rid of.

Aljazeera English has video on the process: