NEW YORK - President Asif Ali Zardari, whose popularity has sunk nearly a year after assuming his office, has done little to connect with the Pakistani public or attempt to address popular concerns, a dispatch in a major US newspaper said Saturday. 'Pakistanis still call him 'Mr 10 per cent, a reference to corruption allegations that have dogged him since stints in previous decades as a Cabinet Minister, The Los Angeles Times said in a dispatch from Islamabad. 'The media jabs his inability to solve myriad crisis, ranging from daily power shutdowns to a moribund economy. He gets little to no credit for the military offensive to tame local Taliban forces. 'None of it fazes him, Fauzia Wahab, MNA, Information Secretary of PPP and a close ally of Zardari, was quoted as saying about the President. 'He will come out of it, she said. He is being portrayed as the worst kind of man. But he waits because hes seen those days when he was portrayed as the villain of the country. He is a very patient person, she added. 'The rest of the country may not be as patient, remarked the paper, saying the 54-year-old widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is 'widely viewed in Pakistani society not as a helmsman, but a bystander. Its an image that is largely of Zardaris own making, the paper cited analysts who contend that he has failed to forge any kind of connection with the Pakistani public. 'Zardaris public appearances are infrequent and he has held only two news conferences, both with visiting heads of state alongside, the paper added. 'He has yet to set foot in the Swat Valley, a region his troops retook from Taliban insurgents who had extended their reach to within an hours drive of the capital. 'He knows how to work a crowd of politicians, but he doesnt know how to connect with the public, a columnist was quoted as saying. 'Theres a sense that the guys in charge but doesnt really know where he is. Has it sunk in yet that hes President of 167 million people, and that its not about running a business anymore?. 'Its not just the public that is disillusioned with Zardaris performance. Within his political party, there are growing concerns that his shaky leadership and dwindling popularity are weakening the organisation at a time when its archrival, Opposition politician Nawaz Sharifs PML-N party, is gathering steam, the paper said. But Fauzia Wahab denied there was any dissension within the PPP ranks over Zardaris leadership. However, another lawmaker, Safdar Abbasi, who was with Ms Bhutto when she died, disagrees, it added. 'Right now, Zardaris leadership isnt being challenged, but the issue is that theres immense dissension and disappointment among the partys rank and file, Abbasi was quoted as saying. 'People are starting to feel that the hopes that they attached to Zardari after his election are fading. Things arent going the way they should. Analysts were cited as saying that Zardari has squandered a golden opportunity to craft an image as a focused, rolled-up-sleeves leader. The timing couldnt be better, they say, noting that the political landscape has stabilised somewhat, an independent judiciary has been restored, and the military campaign has left the Taliban in a state of disarray. 'Instead, Zardari continues to be perceived by Pakistanis as an accidental President who fell into the job through Benazir Bhuttos December 2007 assassination, which left him leader of the PPP, the dispatch said. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, less than a third of Pakistanis have a favourable opinion of Zardari. LA Times correspondent said that the 'deep distrust of Zardari is nothing new. He was widely reviled after being accused of demanding kickbacks while he served in Benazir Bhuttos Cabinet in the late 1980s and again starting in 1993, the dispatch said. 'Though never convicted, he was imprisoned from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 2004 in corruption cases that he has contended were politically motivated. 'Still, when Zardari assumed the Presidency last year, Pakistanis appeared ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. A Pew poll taken at the time found that 64pc viewed him favourably, the paper said. 'Since then, however, several of his decisions have eroded his standing with the public. 'He plunged the country into political crisis this year when he dissolved the Punjab govt, which was run by Nawaz Sharifs PML-N party. He also put him under house arrest, it added. 'Zardari also initially reneged on a promise to reinstate popular CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, who alongwith other high court judges, was ousted by the former President Musharraf. Zardari reinstated Chaudhry in March only after a grass-roots movement of lawyers began street protests in Lahore and Islamabad. Citing observers, the Times said Zardari has had ample time to reinvent himself, and the successes against the Taliban in Swat would have been a good place to start. But Zardari has done little to convince the public that the fight against the Taliban is his war, the newspaper said, citing analysts. Consequently, they say, Pakistanis credit the countrys military commanders. 'How many times has he been to Swat? None, a security analyst was quoted as saying. 'If he really wanted to make his mark, hed have a bigger public presence. The success of Swat is happening under his Presidency. Why not build on that?. 'Pakistanis dont blame Zardari for the countrys economic woes or its electricity crisis, a problem of overburdened, poorly maintained infrastructure that led to violent protests this summer. For years, Musharraf put off expanding the capacity of the national power grid. And Pakistan was hit as hard by the global economic meltdown as other countries, the paper added. But Pakistanis do hold Zardari accountable for not doing enough to put the countrys economy on the right track or to avert the daily power shutdowns that plagued the country while it baked in withering summer heat. 'It was an enormous mess that we inherited from Musharraf, said a columnist. 'And much of it is not understood by people here. But people understand not having electricity, and they understand high gasoline taxes and food shortages. Those are the kinds of issues that decide whether a leaders popularity goes up or down, the columnist added.