Crisis for Zardari led Govt deepens with demands for martial law in Pak

     Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain's call for martial law in Pakistan has added to the crisis facing President Asif Ali Zardari's led government, with fears of the Army toppling the 'democratic' set up once again. In his telephonic address from London Hussain, whose party is offering support to the Pakistan People's Party-led government through 25 members of the National Assembly, urged "patriotic generals to initiate martial law-like steps against feudal politicians and former generals who disgraced the army institution during the Soviet-Afghan war". Hussain said that his party would support steps similar to martial law against "corrupt politicians" to weed out the menace of corruption triggering talks of another military coup. The MQM's call has come at a time when both Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are facing severe criticism for their slow reaction to the devastating deluge, which has affected nearly 20 million people in the country. Zardari, who is already unpopular in Pakistan because of allegations of corruption, has been heavily criticized for going ahead with an official visit to France and Britain earlier this month while the flood calamity was unfolding. While analysts believe that the military leadership and the people in general do not want army rule to return just a couple of years after the restoration of the democracy, they are of the view that a change of government through a confidence vote after defections from the ruling bloc has become likely. Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst, said the MQM leader's comments were significant as the first direct call for the military to step in amid growing public anger. "There's no coup around the corner but it strengthens the role of the military in politics," The Telegraph quoted Rizvi, as saying. Zardari, however, insisted that the multiple crises would stop another military engineered coup from taking place in Pakistan. "I don't think anybody in their right mind would want to take responsibility; it's only democracy that can carry the yoke," he said.

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