PRESSURE COOKER

Controlling Pakistan's Chaos

Home to both nuclear weapons and major numbers of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, Pakistan is not the kind of place America wants to see fall into chaos. Now American diplomats are working furiously to broker an end to a standoff between unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. Tensions between the leaders' coalitions have led to widespread protests and Zardari has upped the ante with mass arrests of opponents and crackdowns on dissent and some observers are concerned that Pakistan's army will retake control of the government should the two leaders fail to reach an agreement soon.