Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari appeared to take the first step towards handing executive powers to the elected Prime Minister on Friday by divesting himself of the powers of the head of the nuclear chain of command and transferring them to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.
In a late night development, Mr. Zardari reissued the National Command Authority (NCA) Ordinance 2009, amending it in the process to make the Prime Minister the Chairman of the body that has overall control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
The Ordinance was first passed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in October 2007, and was part of his effort to ensure that the NCA would be under his control after the February 2008 elections.
It was among the 37 ordinances that the Supreme Court had asked the Government to present to Parliament for its approval by the end of this month.
However, Mr. Zardari decided to repromulgate 28 of the ordinances late on Thursday, his spokesman Farahtullah Babar said in a release.