Watching him receive a verbal pistol-whipping from BBC veteran Jeremy Paxman at a London press conference earlier this month, it was hard not to feel sorry for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 19-year-old heir to Pakistan's most perilous throne. Did the first-year Oxford student really think he was up to the job of heading the Pakistani opposition, even nominally?
An alarming surge in suicide attacks has fuelled a 30% rise in violence in Afghanistan this year, according to the United Nations. This year has seen an average of 550 violent incidents a month compared with 425 in 2006, a report by the department of safety and security said.
Frenzied shuttling between London and Islamabad, not-so-secret deals and the machinations of <i>éminences grises</i> -- a power shift in Pakistan is imminent. But who will come out on top? And can he or she bring stability? We look at President Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.