Despite all the evidence to the contrary, casting doubts on Mr Zardari's mental health is indicative of brazenly irresponsible journalism, aimed only at sullying his presidential candidacy. Coming as it does The Financial Times recent report is based on court documents filed by Mr Zardari's doctor according to which he was diagnosed with a range of serious illnesses including dementia, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. There's no point in lending credence to all that rubbish forming the part of a New York-based psychiatrist's diagnosis following His Excellency Wajid Shamsul Hassan's assertion that Mr Zardari is now 'fit and well'. It does prove the diagnosis correct. But then that was way back in March 2007. And if the psychiatrist's own observation that "I don't foresee any improvement in these issues for at least a year" is to be believed then Mr Zardari is long past that stage and will now be free of "symptoms of insanity" and "emotional instability". So Mr Hassan has a point that the "boss" is medically fit to run for the presidency. The rest is sheer absurdity such as Psychologist Stephen Reich's contention that Mr Zardari was unable to remember the birthdays of his wife and children, was persistently apprehensive and thought about suicide. Can he be declared as having unsound mind when he could cleverly use the diagnoses to plead successfully for the postponement of the court case in Britain in which Government of Pakistan had been suing him over his alleged corruption? Fast forward to February 18, 2008. Looking at the way he conducted himself in dealings with the coalition partners the whole story about his mental impairment or memory problems seems preposterous. Give it a try and you will find him making no mistakes in recalling the exact date when he signed the Murree Declaration and the day when he first reneged on his promise to reinstate the deposed judges. Pretty quick he turned out to be explaining accurately the timeline of his subsequent commitments and retractions. Mr Zardari can also correlate the important events of this year with those of the preceding year without taxing his memory. And he needs no extraneous effort to recall that the Bhurban Accord came exactly a year after Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was summoned to the Army House and forced to resign. Then the expiry of the second deadline set for the restoration of judiciary to the pre-November 3 status coinciding with the bloodshed in Karachi on May 12, 2007, during the CJ's visit there to address the High Court Bar Association. But what he can claim credit for is that he did not let the PML-N leadership make a political capital out of these bizarre correlations. Five months down the line when the coveted slot he has been vying for sometime is so close at hand he seems to have no regrets for backtracking on his commitments. The PML-N having pulled out of the ruling coalition must have relieved him of the constant strain caused by Mian Nawaz's call for restoring the CJ and other deposed judges. Maybe he is interested in convincing his foreign backers that it would be counterproductive to stick to commitments and promises that run counter to "our national interests as well as yours." It's no use picking holes in Mr Hassan's observation that if at all the PPP co-chairman once suffered from "severe psychiatric problems" then that's all history. But Mr Zardari's detractors would continue to raise questions about his ability to guide the country mired into multifaceted crises. Perhaps the psychiatric disorder will keep haunting those with whom Mr Zardari would be interacting quite frequently for briefings on the strategic affairs. Those at the helm of the National Command Authority and the Strategic Planning Division may be more concerned about the company he keeps. The presence of the likes of Mr Rehman Malik at such high-profile forums is bound to cause discomfort to those handling the country's nuclear assets. The fear among them is that it's not worth taking any risk when our so-called allies are breathing down our necks in a bid to take over the control of our nuclear arsenal. This is where Mr Zardari will find himself pitted against a powerful establishment that seems to be becoming upset about his desperation to grab the presidency. Coupled with this is the credibility gap further accentuated by his betrayals, which raise doubts about his intentions? Now that his victory in the presidential race is almost a foregone conclusion what he should be looking for is a saner counselling on how to play the 'role of an honest broker' rather than a partisan president thinking only in terms of his own and party's interests. E-mail: