This is the second time tonight you've wanted to strike me," said Pacheso. "Perhaps it is good for you. In any case, I'm not judging you. I'm describing. If I tell a patient he has cancer, that is not to judge him. You have a kind of emotional cancer.-An extract from Stephen Dobyn's novel. At this precise moment in the history of Pakistan, the PPP body-politics needs an urgent diagnosis. And the fact is that it is suffering from what can be described as "political oligarchic disorder." Oligarchy, as a political concept and doctrine, translated into the actual management of state affairs, means the rule of a specific group of people with the sole purpose of retaining "political power" with exclusive rights and benefits to itself. As such, quite obviously, the oligarchic model of governance is inherently contradictory to principles and conventions of democratic norms. Democracy and oligarchy cannot co-exist. Military dictatorships in Pakistan, including Musharraf's regime in the immediate past, are prime examples of the oligarchic structure of politics. But the history of oligarchies is as old as human civilisation. Ambitious and "power hungry" rulers have always been devising mechanisms, strategies, modus operandi and formulas to systematise control over "political power" exclusively to their own advantage. In doing this, they have even used metaphysical, abstruse and transcendental claims to exclusive "empowerment" for themselves, such as having an emissary status bestowed on them by a divine power. In contemporary history, Bush, Blair and Musharraf, all three of them, have claimed God's inspiration in their ascendancy to political command. The interesting phenomenon in this context is the analysis of the methods that elite groups have used from time immemorial to legitimise their control over power. During the Egyptian Pharaoh's era, 3000 BC to 30 BC, the ruling elite even married their sisters and daughters to retain absolute control over economic and political supremacy. In today's Pakistan, the Peoples Party "loyalists", jayalas and stalwarts are busy inventing all kinds of symbolic and political tactics to justify and legitimise what they consider the PPP's co-chairman's righteous prerogative to the presidency. However, the PPP's Central Committee's decision to name Asif Zardari as a presidential candidate for September 6 elections (a presidential election schedule hurriedly decided by the PPP with a specific agenda and without consultations with other parties) is politically incorrect. The following needs to be considered in the context of the political incorrectness of this vitally important decision - a determination that will have lasting impacts on the future democratic process in this country. Failing to do so will reverse the invigorated democratisation course and revert it into a purely oligarchic structure of governance in Pakistan. 1.    Indeed, People's Party has a majority in the incumbent government in Islamabad. However, the present set-up is composed of coalition partners. Hence, it becomes a political and moral obligation for the PPP to consult their partners in the coalition and simultaneously, acting on their advice, field a consensus candidate for the coveted post of the president. Given the nature of the political reality of this government, no other modus operandi can be acceptable. 2.    Given the unfolding democratic outgrowth in post-Musharraf Pakistan, the PPP's sudden decision to unilaterally name its co-chairman as a presidential candidate is an act of precipitate political judgement - it needs to be corrected in the larger interest of safeguarding the emerging democratic process in the country. The PPP's abrupt decision in this respect has indeed put tremendous strains and premature dangers on the evolving system. 3.    It is true that the PPP received a massive public mandate in the February 18 elections. But that does not automatically accord political, moral or philosophical right to the PPP's Central Committee to assume that the majority of Pakistani citizens have also mandated the party to elect its co-chairman as the President of Pakistan. That can be an erroneous impression given the fact that Asif Zardari was never a candidate during the elections nor was he elected to the position of the co-chairman of the party. This, in itself, contradicts the very fundamentals of a democratic party's political management. It is required that the PPP, in fulfilment of the norms of a democracy, should obtain a public authentication of their co-chairman's leadership to the extent of holding the office of president. And that will not happen unless all other parties unanimously endorse Asif Zardari's candidacy. 4.    From a democratic vantage point, the possible concentration of such massive political power in the hands of a single individual is a problematic development with limitless pitfalls leading to absolutism, despotism, and autocracy - a textbook model of pure oligarchy. As the president, Asif Zardari would have immense power at his disposal as PPP co-chairman, with close personal associates at the helm of political and economic decision-making in the affairs of the nation. This scenario does not fit into the democratic dispensation and the existing coalition structure of political management in present-day Pakistan. 5.    A serious issue, at the masses and public level, is the moral and political credibility of the co-chairman's leadership. Being a beneficiary of the NRO, enacted unilaterally by General Musharraf to save his presidency, makes the PPP's co-chairman a party to one of the most unethical political decisions in the history of Pakistan. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt, the fact remains that the public is still wary of Asif Zardari's anticipated presidency. 6.    Obviously, the NRO establishes the co-chairpman's irrevocable links with the Musharraf era's economic and political policies including Pakistan's submission to American dictates. Can Pakistan continue to afford the extension of Musharraf's policies now? I don't think so. Mind it, the public mandate is already out there against the American so-called War on Terror and the rejection of Pakistan's involvement in the US expansionist design in this part of the world. 7.    Given public perception, can the PPP co-chairman truly justify his credentials as an economic theorist, political manager, conflict resolution expert and insightful strategist who can offer a visionary nationalist leadership? The fact is, making and breaking party alliances is a mantra of very little consequence; what matters is to rise above self-interests, disregard power corridors and serve the nation selflessly. Is Asif Zardari inclined to this kind of politics? Can he manage to alter the public's view of him to such an extent?  I will let you decide for yourself The nation has already observed the PPP co-chairman change his political stance on several national issues abruptly and without credible justification.  And this poses a serious image problem for the PPP leader in the public's eyes. In contemporary Pakistan, the office of the president demands, above all, the highest standards of moral authority (Musharraf destroyed its integrity to absolute limits). In my judgement, the next president of Pakistan should be politically non-affiliated, profoundly intellectual, knowledgeable of economic and political theories, nationalistic to the core and yet aware of global trends and dynamics, comprehend the American capitalistic expansionist agenda, understand conflict resolution strategies, excel at political management and able to offer comprehensive advice to the government - and above all committed to democratic notions - an idealist by personal conviction. Can the nation expect the coalition partners to do a nationwide search for such a candidate? Can the nation expect the coalition partners to arrange a nation-wide transparent debate to select such a candidate? Will the coalition offer the presidency to a scholar? After all, only scholars and teachers have been known to transform the destinies of several modern states... Indeed, the nation can wait beyond September 6 to see the democratic process prevail in this country Indeed, they will... No more oligarchy, please... The writer is a professor, political analyst and conflict-resolution specialist