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27 April 2017 22:35 (South Africa)

Under duress, Pakistani president passes nuclear command codes to Prime Minister

ali zardari

President Asif Ali Zardari has passed his authority over the country’s 60 to 100 nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s nuclear command structure on to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. This decision is representative of Pakistan’s political turmoil, just as US President Barack Obama prepares to announce his country’s strategic and tactical shift for the region – which will depend even more on a stable and supportive Pakistan. This role handover is an effort to head off growing domestic political pressure on Zardari, even as support for and the credibility of his presidency hits a new nadir. A temporary Pakistani political amnesty programme dealing with hundreds of corrupt acts ended on Saturday and Zardari and his allies may face potential criminal charges as a result. The opposition now insists he relinquish many of his powers or resign. For more, read the New York Times

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