Zardari did not want to repeal 17th Amendment: WikiLeaks


In a meeting with US Ambassador Anne Patterson, President Asif Zardari said he was not interested in abolishing the 17th Amendment which would transfer presidential powers to the prime minister, WikiLeaks revealed.
In a secret cable of March 21, 2009, the US Ambassador briefed Washington on the details of the meeting with President Zardari on March 18. The cable said there was a gulf between President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on repealing the 17th Amendment. The cable said that “the public posturing by Gilani might be setting himself up, at a minimum for disagreement with Zardari, and at a maximum, for a fall”.
“Nawaz (Sharif) is pressing Gilani to repeal the 17th Amendment and thus restore parliamentary government in Pakistan,” said the cable. “Based on Ambassador’s conversation with Zardari on March 18 and PO Lahore’s meeting with Punjab Governor Taseer, however, we are not sure that Zardari plans to follow through on reconciliation,” said the cable. The cable said the President had signaled he would try to limit the powers of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry.
The cable reported that US Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke was widely credited in Pakistan with pressuring both Zardari and Nawaz Sharif to compromise and avoid further street violence. “However, local perception is that Washington is warming to Nawaz as the most popular leader in Pakistan. We do not expect Zardari or his governor in Punjab to give up on efforts to marginalize the Sharifs at the local and national level or restrict the powers of a restored Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry,” added the cable.
Zardari also said the US and UK governments did not support him properly in times of crisis.