President Asif Zardari has come close to the end of his term without letting the media get close, but in his last few months in office and following a resounding defeat of his party, the PPP, he gave a rare interview to a few selected media persons. A man going through a process of introspection, the President said he would not be standing for a second term. Of course, he is not just of a mind to enjoy his retirment, but also only being realistic, given that his party does not have the votes to reelect him.Bowing to the incoming Nawaz government, he swung the ball into Nawaz Sharif’s court over Musharraf’s fate, saying if the new PM decided to pardon General Musharraf, he would act accordingly. Of course, while he is bound by government advice, such advice can only be issued if the criminal or accused makes an application. The President’s intention to follow the constitution is to be applauded, but the decision to pardon him is premature, at the very least, at this point in time. The President must be doubly cautious, as in the public’s mind is a niggling irritation about why Musharraf was allowed to leave at all after the murder of Mohtarma Benazir and why even a PPP-led government could not hold him accountable for his gross negligence in ensuring her security.The President opened an old can of worms, saying he knew of no agreement between the Pakistani government and the US allowing the use of drones. Asked about why the PPP government had allowed them, he said that those who claimed to be able to down drones should be asked about them. He said that the question was ‘then what?’ And thus in two words, the President effectively summed up the debate being conducted in the higher echelons of government and military circles, about the drones and how to satisfy the public desire to see them stopped at any cost.The President has through this election announced that he has entered a lame-duck period. When PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif takes over as Prime Minister, President Zardari will find that he has the least influence of the government of his tenure. Previously, he had headed the PPP, for a long time formally, and selected both previous Prime Ministers. He had not only been consulted by the government over the caretaker Prime Minister, but had been in constant touch with him for the duration of his tenure. Now he will have to deal with a prime minister who owes him nothing, and came to office in the teeth of his and his party’s opposition. There is no other option but to follow the constitution in both letter and in spirit.