The NY Times featured an article entitled, “Can Pakistan Be Governed?” by James Traub. The piece, which discusses Pakistan’s present situation, focused much attention [and criticism] on President Asif Ali Zardari, who Traub interviewed soon after the conclusion of the Long March. Here’s a few excerpts I found interesting:
President Zardari met me just inside the doorway, then seated himself facing a widescreen TV displaying an image of fish swimming in a deep blue sea. His party spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, and his presidential spokesman, Farahnaz Ispahani, sat facing him, almost as rigid as the soldiers. Zardari is famous for straying off message and saying odd things or jumbling facts and figures. He is also famous for blaming his aides when things go wrong – and things have been going wrong quite a lot lately. Zardari’s aides didn’t want him to talk to me. Now they were tensely waiting for a mishap.
And this apt observation:
Zardari has a special talent for maneuvering himself out of the tight spots he gets himself into. But the Pakistani people have grown weary of his artful dodging. Zardari’s poll numbers are dreadful. More important, he has given little sustained attention to the country’s overwhelming problems — including, of course, the Islamist extremism that, for the Obama administration, has made Pakistan quite possibly the most important, and worrisome, country in the world. Zardari has bought himself more time [with the reinstatement of CJ Chaudhry], but for Pakistan itself, the clock is ticking louder and louder.
Traub ends his piece with a very Yoda-like line by Zardari. When he asked the President if he had learned any lessons from the Long March, Zardari answered, “Every day, man is growing and learning. What you were yesterday, you are probably not today, because today’s you is yesterday’s experience. One is always learning.”
Hmm. A very evasive and ambiguous response from our illustrious president. How politician-like of him. Anyway, I couldn’t resist using my nifty WordPress caption-tool once again with the image that accompanied this Times article, [see below]. What would your caption be?