Pakistan’s embattled president, Asif Ali Zardari, has transferred command of the country’s nuclear arsenal to the prime minister, as he comes under increasing pressure to step down.
The dramatic move signaled that Mr. Zardari was willing to give up some of his powers to defuse the escalating opposition to him. The move came as an amnesty protecting him and some of his key ministers from corruption charges expired on Saturday. Mr. Zardari shed his powers as chairman of the National Command Authority through a presidential decree issued late Friday night, giving the responsibility to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The transfer of authority to the prime minister won’t make much practical difference as Pakistan’s nuclear-weapon program is effectively controlled by the country’s powerful military. [continued…]