Can Zardari Be Trusted in the Fight against Jihadi Terrorism?
15 Dec, 2008
Education and early life
Asif Ali Zardari born 26 July 1955 is the 12th and current President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). This party was founded by Zulfikar Bhutto who was the father of Nuclearisation of Pakistan. Zardari is the widower of Benazir Bhutto (Zulfikar Bhutto daughter), who twice served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Zardari belongs to a Shia Muslim family from the Nawabshah town of Sindh. His father Hakim Ali Zardari was the owner of a small time theatre in the same town. Zardari acquired his high school education from the Cadet College Petaro, which is incidentally the only education he has. Even though he claimed later on to have a Bachelors degree from a college in London whose existence has yet to be proven. Until his marriage with Benazir Bhutto on 18 December 1987, he was a relatively unknown figure on the political scene of Pakistan.
Member of National Assembly
Zardari served once as the member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, and was even the Minister of Environment during his wife’s second term as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In spite of his keen interest in the finance Ministry, his wife opted to keep him in a non revenue generating department. Once during his term as a minister he made an absurd claim during a press conference, that his Ministry had motivated every student to plant a tree. Of course he backtracked from his statement when asked to authenticate his claims.
He also served as a Senator until the Military coup by Pervez Mussharaf in which the then Prime Minister was ousted and both the lower and upper houses of Pakistani Assembly were dissolved.
Co-chairman of the PPP
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007 while returning with her convoy after addressing a public rally. Three days later proclaimed himself as the co-chairman of the PPP along with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal is intended to fully assume the post soon after he completes his education in Oxford.
On March 5, 2008, soon after coming to power, Zardari was absolved five of the corruption charges because the courts abolished the cases against all public office holders’ illegal use of property under NRO, the National Reconciliation Ordinance. Undergoing another trial on the remaining charges, on April 14, 2008 he was absolved the remaining charge. Soon after being absolved of all the charges of corruption against him he announced that he would be fighting the next elections and if his party won a 2/3rds majority in the Elections we would not mind taking up the Prime Minister’s position.
Somehow Mr. Zardari and controversy seem to have a strange relation. Whether controversies follow him or is it the other way around is very hard to tell judging from the man’s life. Let us see a few of the controversies he has been involved in.
Zardari was accused of money-laundering activities in a US Senate report on private banking and money-laundering. Zardari is still under criminal investigation in Switzerland over receipts of kickbacks from two Swiss-based companies while his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, served as the country's prime minister in the 1990s. Judge Daniel Devaud is to continue investigations despite pressure from US officials; he is the investigating magistrate in Geneva who has handled many high-profile investigations into laundering of corrupt payments through Switzerland by foreign politicians.
Zardari is a beneficiary of the NRO issued by the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. Chief beneficiaries of this ordinance include Asif Ali Zardari, Rehman Malik and MQM workers and leaders.
Meeting with Sarah Palin
During his trip to the USA Zardari happened to meet Sarah Palin. During his meeting with her in his capacity as a President of Pakistan he told Palin that she was “gorgeous” and that now he knows why the whole of America is crazy about you. His infamous handshake and hug earned him a bad reputation, in international circles, for being undiplomatic. The Pakistanis being good Muslims were not too pleased at his Un Islamic gesture.
Outstanding Legal Cases
The most significant European cases are a Swiss money-laundering inquiry and a British civil case. In 2003, a Swiss investigative magistrate decided he had evidence against Zardari and his Ex-Wife after pursuing a money trail from offshore companies in the Caribbean to banks in Geneva to a jewelry shop here. Judge Daniel Devaud took advantage of a Swiss law allowing investigative magistrates to issue a summary verdict if they think the evidence is strong, and convicted Zardari and Bhutto of money laundering. A new magistrate reopened the investigation on charges of aggravated money laundering, a more serious offense based on the suspicion of systematic criminal activity. “Mr. Zardari denies having committed any crime whatsoever,” the lawyer, Saverio Lembo, said in an interview before Bhutto’s assassination. In his 2003 verdict, the Swiss judge connected Zardari to a chain of corruption that began with two Swiss companies, Cotecna and SGS. Starting in 1994, company executives courted Zardari in hopes of landing a contract to provide container inspection equipment and expertise to the Pakistani customs agency, according to Swiss court records.
As part of a secret deal, the judge found, and the Swiss contractors funneled $11.9 million in bribes into three offshore firms in the British Virgin Islands and ultimately into bank accounts in Geneva. The nominal owners of two companies were Bhutto’s mother and brother-in-law, according to the records.
The judge found that Zardari owned the third company, Bomer Finance, which received about $8 million, and that “Bhutto shares with her husband the assets” and “has power of disposition” over the company, according to the documents.
In Britain, the decade-old civil proceedings focus on Zardari. Zardari is accused of using illicit funds to acquire the 365-acre Rockwood estate, a $6.5-million property featuring a Tudor-style mansion and two adjoining farms in the Surrey district. The estate was bought and refurbished in 1995 through trusts in the Isle of Man and Liechtenstein and the Caribbean firms linked to Bhutto, Zardari and the alleged kickbacks, according to the lawsuit.
Zardari steadfastly denied ownership until January 2006, when he acknowledged he owned the property, according to British court records. The judge did rule that there is a “reasonable prospect” of proving that funds used to refurbish the estate were “the fruits of corruption,” according to the documents.
Summing up the life of Asif Ali Zardari which has not been so holy when looking at in retrospect, we can safety assume that he definitely not a person who can be trusted by any sane nation. Furthermore he is the leader of an Islamic nation. A person as corrupt and lacking in resolve and moral integrity as him would unlikely risk angering Pakistani religious leaders by appearing to be siding with the global community on the issue of Islamic terrorism.
This is what I feel about this issue; I might be wrong.
Ibrahim Lone is Kashmir-born ex-Muslim.