Asif Ali Zardari – another perspective

Image from Pak Teahouse where the post was also shared (and drew some thoughtful comments)

Image from Pak Teahouse where the post was also shared (and drew some thoughtful comments)

The confessions of Brig Imtiaz have forced other intelligence officers to admit their role in destroying democracy in Pakistan, and establishing that Zardari’s name has been trashed for about 20 years to force Benazir Bhutto out of politics and to destroy the credibility of Pakistan People’s Party, writes Bilal Qureshi in his article Asif Ali Zardari – President of Pakistan, posted at the blog he edits Pakistan Foreign Policy.

“In the light of stunning revelations by Brig Imtiaz as to how the army was dead against handing over power to Benazir, especially the reins of foreign policy towards Afghanistan, India and the nuclear program, it is clear that the army tasked Brig Imtiaz and other officers to come up with a long term scheme that would seriously deflate Benazir’s desire for a moderate, educated and non-hysterical Pakistan.”

Qureshi says he is not a Zardari supporter but saw Zardari as a leader when he refused to compromise with those who wanted him to sign a confession and leave the country, like Nawaz Sharif and his family did after reaching a deal with Musharraf.

“The defining moment was Zardari’s decision to stop those who were shouting anti Pakistan and anti Punjab slogans after Benazir’s body was flown to Sindh for burial. Everyone was crying, the emotions were high, but Zardari stepped forward and directly confronted people from his own province, Sindh and snubbed those who were blaming Punjabi elements in establishment for Benazir’s death. Zardair’s courageous decision to confront those angry workers told me, and millions of other skeptics that Zardari is a man of courage and conviction.”

However, the relentless attacks on Zardari destroyed his credibility and damaged the Bhutto brand in Pakistan’s politics. Benazir Bhutto had to move to Dubai to rear her children because her own country, Pakistan was made extremely unsafe for her. Asif Zardari ended up serving little under12 years in prison on various charges, of which not a single charge was proved in any court of law, writes Qureshi.

Zardari’s decision to take on the Taliban and other terrorists across Pakistan has further enraged right wing politicians, as well as former and current intelligence officers. “Just listen to any television program in Pakistan and you will find people declaring Zardari as America’s agent and working on American agenda… because apparently, working for peace, prosperity, promoting education, attracting foreign investment, solving Pakistan energy and water crisis is somehow American agenda.”

This is how Qureshi sums up Zardari’s achievements:

“For the first time in the history of Pakistan, not even a single dime changed hands during recent Senate elections because Zardari moved in such a way that all parties got their share and there was no need to bribe people to buy their votes.”

“Zardari has also traveled the globe to attract investment and to ensure that Pakistani goods have access to every possible market in the world, but this too is not mentioned. Finally, Zardari is the only high ranking government official who took people with him to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra and paid for their boarding and lodging from his own pocket – first time in Pakistan’s history, but this too is never mentioned, nor is Zardari given credit for this.”

Full text at

When Zardari was released from prison, I along with two other journalists met him at Bilawal House. Here is how the piece starts that I wrote then, published in The News:

“Corruption,” pronounces Asif Ali Zardari, “is a state of mind. A corrupt person wouldn’t have taken on the establishment, wouldn’t have sacrificed eight years of his life in prison. I could have accepted a deal and got out, and kept them happy — that’s what would have benefited me most.”

Full text at: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Asif Zardari – thanks to Marvi Sirmed for posting it to her blog. The report published in The News is no longer on the website.


8 Responses

  1. I am just waiting for your sycophancy to win you a senate seat. Keep up the good work and you’ll please your masters soon. 2013? I doubt if any journalist has tried to save Zardari more than you, Beena.


    • You can keep waiting, whoever you are.
      At least I write under my own name instead of posting anonymously to other people’s blogs


  2. U r trying to support the known international corrupt person who got released USD 50.000m in acquittal of swiss case under notorious of the notorious law of the world NRO just before taking oath as president of pakistan. From where did he get money? Pls answer.(USD 50.000 TRANSLATE INTO PKR FOUR BILLIONS.

    The Rockwood palace aka Surrey Palace which was repeatedly denied by the corrupt couple mnay a times to the people of pakistan was owned by the same corrupt couple in the British court when Govt of Pakistan in 2006 claimed it’s ownership as it was disowned by them. Are u aware of this fact?

    Have u read the Un report of “Oil for food scam for Iraq” published by UN sometimes back which also names Benazir and their cronies involved.

    These are few hard facts out of hundreds other.

    I want a satisfactory reply on above charges based on facts from u to make ur reader that u r a neutral writer having no leanings towards ppp. Pls do not corroborate the only reason offered by their hardcore supporter that 8 years in jail of AAZ were enough to prove him innocent. Be logical and support with arguements on above charges.

    I will anxiously wait for ur reply with proper reasonings supported by evidence sans 8 years in jail.

    Pls goto:

    Best rgds


  3. Allegations of corruption may be right or wrong – few are proven, most are not. There are similar allegations – both proven and unproven – against all leading public figures in Pakistan, in political parties, military, judiciary (including the current one), media owners, and religious leaders. Corruption should be exposed and pursued regardless of anything else.

    It is a fact that the Pakistani system was unable to prove these allegations, even during the long years when these leaders were out of power and facing difficult conditions (and the norms of justice do require a person to be considered innocent until proven guilty).

    It is also fact that corruption charges – whether true or concocted – are used for political purposes.

    So we need to focus on the politics. When (not if) political institutions start getting stabilized perhaps we can begin to have a sensible discussion about corruption. Either you say that your entire politics is to expose corruption and that alone, in which case singling out one leader or one party out of all public figures smacks of partisanship. You should be equally vigilant about all public figures who have negotiated amnesties or received judicial favour in order to escape charges. Or you say that your politics are about changing the balance of power between institutions, no matter how slow it will be, in which case you should accept that obsession with corruption is a red herring.

    PS. Some facts about NRO

    1. It is not only about withdrawing unproven cases, it has other things too, such as the mode of reporting election results, something that allowed media monitoring of the 2008 elections.
    2. It is not the first time an amnesty is being provided.

    Note: Two-thirds of the total loans (Rs 22.35 billion) were written off during the two stints of Nawaz Sharif. In his first tenure, a total of Rs 2.39 billion were written off and during his second, the amount had shot to a staggering Rs 19.96 billion. The loans written off during the two tenures of Nawaz Sharif constituted approximately 74.5 per cent of the total of Rs 30.018 billion written off between 1986 and 1999 (Credit Information Bureau figures; article at

    Let’s not forget the issue of military corruption that Ayesha Siddiqua has exposed.






  6. Hi! My first time here. I read your article with interest… and here is my take.

    Have you ever wondered why the other scams never make it to the foreign shores… ??? Why did any of them not receive the ‘Swiss medal of Honour’… ??? Inspite of having several zeros following some figure… to their credit. Plus a large number of ‘rags to riches’ stories walking around on two legs… in front of our very eyes. None of them have made the ‘cut’…

    How many cases have gone to the foreign shores and therefore received the ‘Swiss Medal of Honour’… ??? From this country/subcontinent/3rd world… ??? What are your thoughts on it… ???

    The foreign media is notorious for getting under the skin of ‘inconvenient’ politicians/leaders… belonging to the ‘3rd world’. Why do they not do any write-ups or op-ed pieces on the Guantanamo Bay, the tragedy/human tragedy of the Gulf War/ Iraq War/Afganistan/Africa… ??? Or on the oil-grabbing policy of the sole super power… ??? Europe (barring a few cases in the Eastern Block – the erstwhile Soviet/Communist block) and the US seems to be inhabited by people who are ‘saintly’ and completely ‘doodh se dhule huye’. What kind of DNA are they made of… ??? Why do the American/NATO forces drop bombs on the hotels where investigative journalists stay… in Iraq… ???

    If you have watched the iconic movie ‘Gladiator’… a line stands out. The same line mouthed by Maximus’ African friend… when yet another of Maximus’ friend tastes his food, to check for poisoning, etc. This African guy says to Maximus: You have a big name. They will have to kill your name first… before they kill you. Or words to that effect.


  7. About the ‘free and fair elections – 2008’ and the ’sympathy wave’… let me narrate a Nasreddin Hodja story.

    Nasreddin, one day, brought home one kilo of delicious lamb. Asked his wife to prepare it for the evening and set off to the teahouse to spend the rest of the day. Unable to wait (terliur sangat) his wife cooked the meat and shared it with her friends. Returning home, Nasreddin was told that the cat had eaten the meat. Puzzled, Nasreddin grabbed the family’s mangy cat and put it on the weighing scales. To his surprise, it weighed exactly one kilo. He barked at his wife, “If this is the meat, then where is the cat?”

    Now, in the 2002 ‘general elections’… held under the watch of the erstwhile proud supermodel of the very exclusive ‘Bushshirt’… the 3P won pretty much the same number of seats (vis-a-vis 2008). Those elections were heavily rigged… but the Americans certified them to be quite ‘free and fair’. A certain lady was out of the country. She had indicated that she’ll return before the elections. The ‘powers-that-be’ asked the 3P to operate… minus her (as their advise to the 3P has always been). Why was that… ??? She was not allowed to contest the 2002 elections… the reason given out was… she was not a graduate. This… inspite of both Harvard and Oxford attesting her claims to the contrary. She was a very distinguished student at both these universities. The courts in Pak refused to accept those claims. Even a huge section of the foreign media dubbed her as a ‘non-graduate’. The domestic media followed suit… almost wholesale.

    Despite the fact that they never tire of asking while rolling their collective eyes: ‘How can she, a graduate of Harvard and Oxford settle for an arranged marriage?’ Why… ??? While an ex cricketer-cum-aging international lothario-cum-failed politician-cum-trumpet-blowing philanthropist who has a third class degree from Oxford, in the same stream… he was her comtemporary there… was allowed to contest. This lady… was a first class (honors) grad. Hmmm. ‘Tarang Tarang’ (that is the suspense music… playing in the background)

    Then ‘coz the leader/chairperson of this party was a ‘non-graduate’… her party was disqualified. She being an adept player of the game of chess on the political chess board… responded a day before the disqualification… with a subsidiary party named as the 4P and registering it. The ‘General – who watched over the elections’ and the ‘other forces’ (some across the seven seas) did not succeed in their plans then. The 4P has received pretty much the same number of seats in 2008… as they did in 2002. This time too… the Americans were extremely prompt in certifying them as the ‘most free and fair elections’ in Pak and paid tributes to the supermodel of the ‘Bushshirt’. They were the ones to link the 4P’s win to the ’sympathy wave’.

    Now.. the question is… if this is the ’sympathy wave’ where are the votes. And if these are the ‘votes’, then where is the ’sympathy wave’… ???


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