Bloomberg argues that Saturday’s bombing of the Marriott in Islamabad will likely put pressure on US/ Pakistani relations. The bombing was a clear signal from militants that the Pakistani government must back away from its American alliance.
Newly elected president Ali Asaf Zardari gave an address to the parliament in which he called for the uprooting of terrorism and the prevention of cross-border raids on Pakistan by Pakistani militants. He also demanded, however, that Pakistani sovereignty be respected, veiled reference to US military incursions into his country.
Zardari also called for a scaling back of the president’s powers,and for more fiscal and administrative semi-autonomy for Pakistan’s provinces. (A few opposition party parliamentarians are disappointed that he did not just decree the abolition of the martial law amendments to the constitution, which boost his own power. Likewise they had wanted to hear him say something about the restoration of the justices and judges who had been arbitrarily dismissed by military dictator Pervez Musharraf when he was in power last year.
Hasan Askari-Rizvi argues that the Bush administration’s odd mixture of unilateralism and insistence on alliances ‘of the willing’ produces a key contradiction that is destabilizing Pakistan.
Dawn asks if the real target of the bombing was Zardari’s presidential mansion.