Paquistão no precipício

ISLAMABAD - O presidente paquistanês Asif Ali Zardari regressou abruptamente para Karachi na manhã de 19 de dezembro, após 13 dias de ausência para tratamento médico no Dubai, onde viveu durante o exílio. O governo não emitiu uma declaração formal sobre a saúde de Zardari, mas os seus apoiantes divulgaram que ele tinha sofrido um pequeno acidente vascular cerebral que o deixou inconsciente por alguns minutos.

O súbito regresso de Zardari alimentou especulações sobre o seu futuro, mas, mais importante ainda, sobre o futuro do regime civil no Paquistão. A sua decisão de voltar foi tomada após uma reunião de três horas entre o primeiro-ministro Yusuf Raza Gilani e o general Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, chefe do exército paquistanês. O seu destino escolhido - Karachi, maior cidade do Paquistão e sua base política, ao invés de Islamabad, capital do país - sugere a profundidade da crise que agora borbulha sob a superfície. 

Zardari está no poder desde 2008, tendo sido eleito oito meses após o assassinato da sua esposa, Benazir Bhutto. Mesmo depois de uma emenda constitucional em 2010 ter tornado o primeiro-ministro no chefe-executivo do país, Zardari continuou a ser o principal decisor. A sua ascensão política está, assim, em conformidade com a tradição do sul da Ásia de uma política dinástica quase democrática: ele assumiu a liderança do Partido Popular do Paquistão de Bhutto (PPP) - fundado em 1967 pelo pai da sua mulher, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto - e nomeou o seu filho Bilawal copresidente do partido, baseando a sua decisão num testamento manuscrito deixado pela sua esposa. Para realçar a ligação, o filho passou a chamar-se Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

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