Asif Ali Zardari and the Future that Awaits Pakistan

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has been elected as the President of Pakistan. I would like to wish him all the best for the future, and hope that under the rule of our new leaders, Pakistan can emerge as a modern welfare state, representing the true principles of Islam. But even as I am positive about the rule of PPP and all of its coalition members, eyeing on the future of Pakistan as the next world capital of sports and entertainment, I see a number of people still pointing fingers at the President and other government executives on issues such as:

– Mental Health
– Corruption charges
– Judiciary
– Economy
– Coalition Members

Well, as a mature individual, who understands the current situation of Pakistan along with the international threats and challenges that we face, I feel that it is my duty to defend the Pakistan People Party and its members from such baseless comments and to guide the 160 million people of Pakistan to the right path of democracy and prosperity.

So in order to clarify all the confusions about the present government, allow me to address each issue one by one.

1. We started talking about Mr. Zardari’s mental health when he became a candidate for the presidency of Pakistan. Well, John McCain is a candidate for the presidency of USA and he too had many mental disorders while serving as a war prisoner in the American led Vietnam War. He remained in the custody of North Vietnamese for about five and a half years and was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery. Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, which was stopped by guards, and further physical torture left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.

No doubt that Mr. Zardari now holds the most supreme title in the government of Pakistan but John McCain if elected will hold the most supreme title of the world power, but even so the newsmakers are much more interested in Mr.Zardari then in anyone else. When Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani was subjected to some heated questions at the Council of Foreign Relations, one of the leaders from the PPP said that this was an engineered tactic to start an international propaganda against his party. At that time I didn’t gave much attention to this statement but when I saw the news of Mr. Zardari’s mental health, I was sure that indeed there was an engineered international propaganda going on against Pakistan’s largest party and as a result many of our own people have started pointing fingers at the leaders, who they themselves voted for on February 18th. We have to understand that a person is judged from his performance and not from his past. Our cricketers gave out match winning performances but the nation seems to be much more interested in their ability of speaking English. Hope that along with all the opportunities and happiness, the future can also bring us some common sense and political understanding.

2. NRO, huh. This ordinance came in and went out before the general elections of 2008. If the people had problems with it then how come PPP was the one party to gain the most votes in the country?

The thing is that people and opposition leaders are ready to point fingers at the PPP because of NRO but they don’t even know what cases were dropped as a result of this ordinance. It’s just a label placed by some factions in the country that PPP has been the major beneficiary of NRO but no one knows the details of it. The reason behind PPP inclusion in NRO was so that they can be allowed to enter Pakistan through a deal, in fact everyone came back as a result of a deal. If some of you think that Nawaz Sharif came back on his own then please do think that only a month before his arrival, on the 10th of September 2007, Mr. Sharif was not even allowed to enter Pakistan and was made to leave for the Arab Kingdom on the next flight. Some newsmakers even said that Mr. Sharif had left his passport with some one in Pakistan but even then the Pakistani authorities were able to fly him to Saudi Arabia. The deal that marked PPP’s come back into Pakistani politics, with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as their leader was just a political tactic so that they are allowed to carry on their election campaign. It was then solely based on their performance and Mr. Zardari’s management that PPP gained complete control of the country and allowed the people of Pakistan to take control of their lives.

3. Corruption Charges. Well, there have been many high profile investigations on the top leadership of PPP about their corruption scandals, but till today none of them have been convicted. Having said that I don’t want to ignore all the material that we now see in terms of PPP’s corruption charges but as none of them have proved anything against anyone, I have to ignore it. All the charges or should I say that all the so called charges have been dropped, even those which were initially started by international organization are now dropped and Mr. Zardari stands clean. On the other hand I would just like to say that even if Mr. Zardari has been involved in corruption and has earned a name of Mr. 10 Percent, well, Mr. 10 Percent is better then being Mr. 30/60 or even 100 Percent. At least 90 percent of the deals he makes goes to the country and so he is much better then all the other democrats that we have in power.

4. Judiciary is now on track of restoration. PPP has their own way of restoring judges and we have now seen that it is working. They have given us their commitment of restoring all the judges, even Iftikhar Chaudry. Some opposition leaders are still using the judiciary crisis for their own vested interests and because of this I feel that the former chief justice has now become to political to act as an impartial judge. Judges should be kept away from politics, completely away from politics or otherwise we will not be able to rely on their ability to act impartial. Take the stand of PML(N) for example, because of their support to the deposed judiciary, many people now feel that judges will favor their party as they can see a career after they retire from their roles. PML(N) has just now introduced Justice Siddiqui as their candidate for presidency and they say that this will give a positive message to everyone but in fact this has only made intellectuals think that PML(N) is only trying to win the support of judges so that they can favor Mr. Nawaz Sharif in terms of his ability to take part in Pakistani elections.

5. Economy. In the past one year, Pakistan’s economy has seen many major setback and freefalls. During the era of President Musharraf, Pakistan’s economy was on a steady growth but because of the political turbulence, our economy has suffered. The present government along with the help of the world bank has taken certain strick measures to control the rate of inflation and many of the business groups now feel that only Mr. Asif Ali Zardari can bring about a real change in the financial situation of Pakistan. To prove Mr. Zardaris capability of making profitable deals for Pakistan, let me put some light on his previous work.
It was the direct involvement of Mr. Zardari during the second government of Benazir Bhutto which resulted in the massive induction of power generation through the IPPs. It is also to the credit of the PPP government in the 90s that fibre optic lines were laid down in the entire country and Pakistan became one of the few countries where the telecommunications revolution arrived ahead of others. Though, at that time the IPP deals were considered to be outrageous and shady, the fact is that if those power projects had not been launched, Pakistan today may have been in a very critical condition with massive power outages.
His critics, circles in Islamabad say, often raise the issue of accusations against Zardari and his ways of making deals, but when a politician with a lot of money reaches the pinnacle of political power and becomes head of the state, it is unlikely that he would adopt the same style and manner of business that he may have done in the past. As leader of the largest political party with offices of the prime minister and shortly of the president, Zardari and all others will have to think in the larger national interest and focus their full attention on reviving the economy. This would only be possible once he gets all contentious political issues out of his way and concentrates on what he can do the best — make deals, this time for Pakistan.

6. MQM’s inclusion in coalition with the PPP shows that Zardari wants stability throughout the country and so he has welcomed MQM in the National Assembly. We all have our reservations against Altaf Hussain but we should not blame MQM for what one man has done to them. MQM, like any other political party has both good and bad people in it. One of their member, who is also the Mayor of Karachi, has performed a lot and I think that it is a good decision to give him another five years of government.
But no matter what I say, I cannot hide the fact that before MQM was included in the coalition, Sind’s IG, Dr. Shoaib Suddle was removed from his post and was transferred as the chief of Intelligence Bureau. During his three months as IG of Sind police, Mr. Suddle was able to crackdown on street and other organized crimes but now after his removal the new IG has brought in some new policies and crime is on the rise again.

Let’s hope that the future can bring us hope and prosperity. Pakistan has all that a nation needs to become progressive state, the only thing that we have suffered in is effective leadership but now after the election of Mr. Zardari as president of Pakistan, it seems that Pakistan is on track to complete democracy and our leaders are now sincere towards their country and her people.

Mohammed Azhar

4 thoughts on “Asif Ali Zardari and the Future that Awaits Pakistan”

  1. At least you guys should admit now, That your expectations from a person like Zardari, Have no knowledge of world nor Deen. Made Paksitan a worst state in the world. Hope you agree to this now. He shoould leave now. One after another Paksiatn got a worse leader. No leader we got after Quiad e Azam. Not a single one.

  2. Zardari seems to be mentaly fit and sound but i am concerned abt u
    NRO was supported by the chief justice in musharraf government but now he is opposing that
    more than 10 years have been passed but no corruption charge has been proved on him inspite of independent judiciary
    economy no doubt is not well bcs of terrorism activities but inshallah it will grow with in the 5 governing years of zardari
    and lastly Coalition Members, MQM can be so called lota party it is always with the party who is in the government
    so stop blaming asif zardari how is working harder for the stability of our country infact u should point out the ones who r becoming hurdles in his path whether its judiciary or military or opposition parties

  3. I dont know much about the mental health of zardari but after reading this post, i question the mental health of the author.

    Secondly, this post is nothing but a cheap propaganda to advertise your blog.

  4. Old don, or a new dawn for Pakistan

    Mr. Zardari despite all reservations and his past was duly elected by the Parliament on 6 September 2008 and it is a good sign for democracy that opposition legitimised the show by participating it and later whole heartedly accepting defeat. Congratulations to Mr. President and let’s bye gone be bye gone and restart a new chapter in Pakistan with an aim of parliamentary sovereignty, rule of law and economic alleviation in the country which is at the verge of institutional and economic collapse. The job which requires sheer wisdom and consultation may not be completed if President does not take himself above his party interest and venture to work jointly as envisaged in ‘ Charter of Democracy’ by his knightly wife Be Nazir as working single handedly may not remove the dark clouds on the civil system which carry a history of four decades.

    I foresee four main issues which may take him from 5 months to 5 year rule. First of all his impartiality as his job requires him to treat all equally by genuinely promoting Federation and allowing the healthy opposition by invoking an idea of issue based constructive politics. If he can agree to disagree and allow this principle to be digested by his party and the political class in general, it will evaporate the politics of 90 and will promote tolerance which is in deficit in Pakistan. It will also strengthen the civil system and continue the political process. He must also consider giving his party position to that of his sister and or the sister in law whilst he is a head of state, of course with due consultation of his party.

    Secondly, most important issue is Pakistan’s foreign policy. I believe the determination the limits of Pakistan’s role in war on terror will be very crucial and he must take Parliament and security apparatus in confidence in order to advance Pakistan’s due and lawful contribution in this global exercise keeping our sovereignty intact. Musharraf’s tacit understandings which has no parliamentary backing will not be acceptable now and any ‘double crossing’ will not work here either, so he must make it clear that no access either to nuclear or our rear tribal areas without Parliamentary approval and security clearance as that will determine how far his new assignment is acceptable to circles which matters. If aid emphasis remains on United States then shopping list will come with it from them and trade preference will vanish so we need a clear priority on state integrity, controlling inside security and flourishing economic activity.

    Thirdly, judges issue will remain a bone of contention in his governance if not settled amicably. I am sure he can work on bigger issues of repealing 17th amendment, implementing charter of democracy and economic revival if judges are restored in accordance with his own declared agreements with his opponents. I am not sure whether he is acting like Nehru or is genuinely has been transformed like him but his credibility will depend a lot on how he settles the judges issue. The way he has so far managed to divide judges, pulled out pro PPP lawyers from the movement and finally had capped the long march show his capacity & management skills. However, dishonouring the whole struggle may not leave any judge in future for so called war of independence of judiciary and sovereignty of Parliament in the event military comes in future, so despite having reservation on any particular judge by PPP, saving the original principle is a genuine and national cause. Iftikhar Choudhary no doubt carries the support of the people for his resilience against a dictator since 9 March 2007 and their clans restoration, compensation and honouring them will create a serious obstacle in the way of military intervention in future.

    Fourthly, the issue of a popular slogan of ‘roti kapra aur makkan’ the manifesto of PPP to ease the suffering of ordinary people of Pakistan by providing shelter, food and employment, basic justice and human rights and that’s only possible if Mr. Zardari’s government could get out of the mess it should have been out in the first month. When there is an international food shortage and recession looming over our heads and Pakistani budget trailing in 10 billion, there is not a lot of economic activity one may initiate. Its agreed that his govt. may not be able to fill the bellies of millions who are living below poverty line, but historian will definitely forgive him if he contributes to rebuild a basic structure from where services are provided by erecting hospitals, employment bureaus, educational establishments, and justice for all irrespective of who they are as I believe if his nation is healthy, happy and educated and is treated equally then they will find a way to contribute constructively in any national drive.

    Finally a word of wise to new President that complacency is a very dangerous thing in politics and he must learn from that of the coup de tat against Mian Nawaz Sharif. When General Musharraf took over on 12 October 99, Mr. Sharif’s premiership had a two third majority, his own party supported President, his brother as chief minister and he had his governments in all remaining provinces including his speaker and chair of senate but we witnessed that a junior ranking officer implemented the orders of his seniors by pointing a short range gun on the prime Minister and his own appointed COAS. The lesson from it was clear and unambiguous to initiate a ‘charter of democracy’ by both former premiers to avoid a similar situation in future and form a policy of civilian co-existence. Absolute power is nothing, the key to save the system is in partnership of civil and military and collective collaboration of political forces until we are out of a real threat of a war. We wholeheartedly welcome you for being duly elected and you have a chance to either change the history from here onwards and stop the future of military dictatorship in Pakistan or become a victim of history yet again. You can either be a villain a don of yesterday or be an originator of a new dawn for the poverty ridden, institutionally weak, segregated, and truly traumatised Pakistan. The decision is yours and BB will be watching over you with a great interest.

    Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court of England & Wales

    7 September 2008


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