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Thread: Asif Ali Zardari :most controversial political figure

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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    Asif Ali Zardari :most controversial political figure

    Asif Ali Zardari :most controversial political figure

    "Mr 10%"


     



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    Senior Member Array mrina's Avatar
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    Asif Ali Zardari has always been one of Pakistan's most controversial political figures and yet he has risen to its most powerful office - the presidency.

    He is still consolidating his power in parliament. On 12 March his nominee for the chairmanship of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, won unopposed.

    But on the same day the opposition, which includes his estranged former allies, started their most serious move to upstage him.

    Since winning Pakistan's presidential elections in September 2008, Mr Zardari has presided over an increasingly fragile country, exposed to a growing militant threat, a possible economic meltdown, and political instability.

    But as a man who has negotiated many a dramatic turn since his marriage 20 years ago to the charismatic former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, he may yet prove a formidable enemy to his opponents.

    He was thrust into centre stage of current political developments when Ms Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007.

    Since then he has led her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) through successful general elections and worked with former political enemies to force President Pervez Musharraf to resign.

    Prison sentences

    And yet, before Ms Bhutto's death, Mr Zardari's public image was so bad that the PPP kept him out of the public eye as much as possible during the campaigning for national elections in February 2008. Mr Zardari was seen as a political liability.

    He spent several years in jail on charges of corruption. He was labelled "Mr 10%".

    Benazir Bhutto

    He found himself in major trouble in 1990 when he was accused, among other things, of tying a remote-controlled bomb to the leg of a businessman and sending him into a bank to withdraw money from his account as a pay-off.

    Those charges were never proved. The PPP had then accused the country's powerful intelligence apparatus of maligning Mr Zardari to damage Ms Bhutto's image.

    In 1993, when then Preisdent Ghulam Ishaq Khan sacked the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Mr Zardari was escorted from the prison straight to the Presidency where he was sworn in as a minister in the interim government.

    Later, the PPP won the 1993 elections, and Mr Zardari moved with his wife to the Prime Minister House in Islamabad where he lived for the next three years.

    In 1996, when another president sacked the PPP government, he was arrested and charged with a number of offences including the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, his wife's brother.

    He was later charged, along with his wife, and convicted in a kickbacks scam involving a Swiss company, SGS.

    But a mistrial was declared by Pakistan's Supreme Court following a major scandal involving the accountability bureau and the judge who had issued the verdict.

    Pakistan's judiciary has not had a reputation for acting independently of the government when it comes to high-profile cases, especially of a political nature.

    His last prison sentence lasted eight years until 2004, during which time he says he was tortured.

    It ended as the then General Musharraf was engaged in protracted negotiations with Benazir Bhutto, then in self-imposed exile, for some form of political reconciliation.

    'Personal bravery'

    Mr Zardari resolutely stood by his party as well as his wife - although at times he disagreed with the politics of both.

    His friends say this was entirely in character and that no-one can deny his personal courage.

    A close friend recounts an incident in the 1980s when he was still a polo-playing and horse-riding bachelor.

    "We were on a cross-country ride in Karachi when one of our company, the daughter of a German diplomat, fell into a bog with her horse.

    "There were 40 of us. We all stood around stunned except for this one man, Asif Ali Zardari, who jumped in and pulled out the girl and then the horse as well.

    "During all this time, he could have drowned at any time himself."

    'Fall guy'

    Asif Ali Khan Zardari was born in Karachi to Hakim Ali Zardari, head of one of the "lesser" Sindhi tribes, who chose the urban life over rustic surroundings.

    Asif grew up in Karachi and was educated at St Patrick's School - ironically also the alma mater of Pervez Musharraf.

    Pakistani lawyers

    His father did relatively well, - the young Zardari's main claim to fame was that he had a private disco at home, helping him gain the reputation as a "playboy".

    When he married Benazir, the icon of the anti-establishment cause in Pakistan, he became "the designated fall guy", a close family friend says.

    "Zardari knew this and accepted it. He walked into the marriage knowing it would always be about her, and never about him."

    After his release from prison in 2004, Mr Zardari kept a low profile, undergoing medical treatment in the US.

    He suffers from diabetes and a spinal ailment which prevents him from moving around without the help of a walking stick.

    He also worked to re-establish his relationship with his children after years of separation.

    Benazir appreciated her husband's loyalty, knowing that "despite his failings, he always stood by his family no matter what", one of her confidants says.

    This was on display following Ms Bhutto's assassination, when he kept the family together.

    He forcefully rejected demands for a rebellion against the government, saying the integrity of Pakistan was sacred to the PPP.

    But in recent months he has been accused both from within and outside the PPP of promoting his own cronies at the expense of party veterans who had stood by Mrs Bhutto through thick and thin.

    He has also antagonised one of the country's most popular politicians, Nawaz Sharif, who is now leading a major protest campaign against him.

    The opposition campaigners hope to target Mr Zardari's controversial image and put pressure on the PPP to start an internal rebellion against him.

    Mr Zardari's strategy appears to be to allow the campaign to run out of steam, and then bargain with its leaders from a position of strength.

  3. #3
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    i just hate him....

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    ive no words to waste for commenting him...

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    this shows the weak political structure of Pakistan politics. in which Personalities RULE. these Individuals do what they want to do , and other members of the party OBEY , what the MASTER says. it is not as bad as army rule , but it looks like the same. similar is the problem with sharif brothers , their party has also no proper way to take the right people to the top. on top seats on sharif brother will RULE. same problem with MQM , we have a very positive example of Jamat-e-Islami now , who has changed their top leader. and the new leader is not the brother or son of the previous one.

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