The presidency is convinced that the opposition to the Kerry-Lugar Bill by “certain elements” is an attempt to de-legitimise Asif Ali Zardari as president of Pakistan. “All this is intended to malign Zardari,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said when approached by The News to know the presidency’s viewpoint on the issue. He said the bill did not give an iota of impression that the sovereignty of Pakistan or the supreme national interests had been compromised. “This is a huge achievement and the presidency strongly and passionately feels that the passage of the bill in the US Congress is a big landmark for Pakistan,” Babar said. To a question about the rejection of the bill by the government,

he said that this was for the government to decide. But he pointed out that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has already taken a very unambiguous stand on the bill and he has also hailed it. His Tuesday*s statement is very clear, he said. He said that the provisions of the bill about nuclear proliferation, democracy, terrorism etc were in consonance with the declared policies of Pakistan. “There is nothing in the bill that clashes with them.” Babar said that all the state institutions have publicly declared to support these policies, which are: “democracy should remain on course but be strengthened; we are against nuclear proliferation and have taken several measures on this count; and we are against terrorism and are engaged in eliminating terrorists”. He said there were “elements” engaged in “off-stage manipulations” so that they continue with the possession of the remote control that they have been using to have control over parliament, the judiciary and other institutions.