If I were President Zardari in 2011

Published: January 1, 2011

Zardari should sell all his personal assets around the world and donate as aid for flood rehabilitation.

There is no doubt President Asif Ali Zardari has transformed into a polished politician since his return to Pakistan on December 28, 2007.

He has led a number of PPP politicians and managed to bring build a coalition based on “lessons learnt from past mistakes” through a policy of ‘reconciliation’.

However, the leaders he nominated, for their personal motives and selfish gains, caused disagreements with partners and ended up embarrassing the party.

Corrections have to be made in the future.

With one coalition partner already out of the government and another on its way, I feel some extraordinary steps need to be taken to keep this government running. If I were President Zardari, surrounded in the current political environment, my 10-point agenda for the year 2011 would be to:

  1. Demand $45 billion from the world for losses incurred in fighting terror. And then, use that money to help reduce inflation and increase employment.
  2. Sell all personal assets and donate for flood rehabilitation.
  3. Give the Ministry of Religious Affairs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F).
  4. Amend the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) bill to include agricultural tax, and appoint Marvi Memon as the head of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
  5. Promise to hold local body elections within the next four months under the Amended Ordinance of 2002.
  6. Appoint only qualified professionals, instead of politicians from within the party or coalition partners, as heads of state-controlled departments.
  7. Give assurance to not amend or repeal the blasphemy law, but suggest improvements so it is not used as a tool of aggression.
  8. Give the Interior Ministry of Sindh to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and appoint Zulfiqar Mirza to recover money from all political bank defaulters. Mr Mirza implement the Land Reforms Bill, so state land, that is currently under the possession of feudal lords can be taken back and distributed.
  9. Remove Prime Minister Gilani and take over premiership to continue with the policy of reconciliation until he is sure that the party will sweep the next election.
  10. Nominate Nawaz Sharif for president on the condition that he also sells all his assets and donate the proceeds to the national kitty. Then, invite the PML-Q to administer Punjab.

Utopia achieved!

These decisions will allow the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to carry on for years and years without much trouble and will also win the hearts of millions. The actions will also remove fears of conspiracies and threats of boots ever taking over the country again.


Syed Ali Raza Abidi

A businessman who writes on politics and civic issues. He completed his masters in business administration from Boston University. He tweets @abidifactor.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.pakspectator.com Sana Saleem

    Great Propositions. I wish President Zardari reads them :)Recommend

  • Zahid

    Nicely written, but followings may not work;

    1) Demand of $45bn is out of question, when world is unsatisfied about your role in war against terrorism?

    8) Giving interior ministery to MQM is like putting extra burdon upon his own shoulders. MQM have been in government since so many years, and operated several best ministeries but they never take on the responsibility of failures at all, but always keep on blaming others, therefore no use of it, anyhow change of interior minister could be good solution.

    10) Nawaz Sharif will not accept it. He is fond to enjoy the power in all over the country and with majority of votes in parliament, even if PPP ask PML N today to take on the reigns of govt, and PPP will support them, they will refuse, because they know in the present situation, they cannot perform. Nawaz Sharif is busy in his homework for next elections, and look at his popularity which is growing without any reason, but he is taking the advantage of failures of present govt. Recommend

  • Ehtisham Rizvi

    1.Demand $45 billion from the world for losses incurred in fighting terror. And then, use that money to help reduce inflation and increase employment.

    When will we grow some self esteem and stop asking for alms?

    3.Give the Ministry of Religious Affairs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F).

    Do you know that he was affiliated with “Lashkar-e-Jhangvi” in the past?

    8.Give the Interior Ministry of Sindh to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM),
    Even in utopia PPP will never give her fort to MQM, its like, lets say, asking MQM to give Karachi to ANP, not gonna happen, right? Recommend

  • http://ykhan.wordpress.com Yasser Khan

    Nice n would be too brave for a politician to attempt but if done there would be no stopping for PPP in coming years.
    Regarding point 10. We all know even zardari offer Nawaz sharif PM post, he would still end up hard nut to crackRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker Abidi

    Zardari Sb, after taking over as the PM, can nominate Nawaz as the President, to end any chances of political disagreements! After all the PM hold’s the power in Pakistan now :)Recommend

  • Faiq

    You should be the adviser to the President!Recommend

  • ali

    what a joke!

    how can one ‘improve’ the blasphemy law without amending it?

    and the world will give us 45 billion in losses when we get serious about fighting terror and not look both ways.

    thirdly, more than 50 % of the losses have been incurred in KP and Fata. Rather than spend the money there, it will be used for inflation and employment? No sir!Recommend

  • kam

    you lost meat “polished”.Recommend

  • Evil Doer

    Mr. Abidi, your first point is no go. Pakistan has a big image problem, which is somewhat true. From outside, Pakistan is looked at as corrupt, incapable and a failed nation. Zardari is like a black cloud hovering over Pakistan. It cannot demand the world community for the losses anymore. Recommend

  • Rayman

    I bet no Pakistani no matter how had he earned, can sell his assets n donate for Pakistan cause, including u n me. So why we expect from just politicians, why not from ourselves, businessmen, industrialists, journalists. For a nation to be great, we need to grow as a community as a nation.Recommend

  • Mohammad naeem

    Well mr. Zardari is doing good. Some points are practical ones and others are dream like. Over all current setup is best one but cabinate needs revampation. Anyhow hes going closer to be an statesman Recommend

  • Majid Maqsood

    It makes no sense to demand such hefty amount from World for losses, on what grounds Ms marvi memon should be made for the head of FBR? Is she qualified for this slot? Why you think ministry of religious affairs should be given to Molana Fazal ? It reflects you belong to his sect and decision on sects are not acceptable to Nation.
    Nawaz and President zaradari are different school of thoughts and how you think president nawaz and zaradari can go together while Nawaz has no room for any other, according to his track record, he contraindicated three Generals, CJ and President laghari so how can one expect such person can go long way with zardari sb?

    We have to admit that this country is multi ethnic and sects so we must try to make our country secular otherwise it would be extremely difficult to make any change for the people of this country.

    we must follow the address of quaid azam in which he talks about secularism and coexistence. Recommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali

    Fat chance.
    There is no need for Ministry of religious affairs in Pakistan. Pakistan is an “Islamic Republic”. Why is there a ministry of religious affairs to start off with?
    Agreed and agreed.
    Agreed but fat chance.
    Disagree. The blasphemy law needs to be repealed or modified to protect all of the tiniest of minorities from tyranny of the whims of the majority.
    Agreed and agreed. However, there is a fat chance that Zulfiqar Mirza will be able to accomplish anything except blowing hot air. A Ministry of Hot Air needs to be created and Mirza should be appointed its head. As far as your expectations from Mirza in relation to the land reform bill, again, fat chance.
    Agreed to remove Gilani; the “good looking” (as per Angelina Jolie) prime minister. Not sure about taking over the premiership though. Sorry, no suggestion who to replace Gilani with. So by default, I may agree with you. :)
    Disagree. Nawaz Sharif will issue presidential orders to change laws for a day whenever he needs to import something. Fat chance again that he will sell anything. Why? When he does not claim to own anything how can he sell the same.

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    @Sana: Thanks! I sure hope one of 2 points from this would become a reality.

    @Faiq: lol – no thanks! ;-)

    @Yasser: As there is peace, there is progress, where there is success there is better political activity, and in the end everyone gains, for the ultimate goal which is your country.

    @Rayman: Agreed! But the rest of the people are not leading a nation. Once the “fatherly figure” makes such a move the nation is sure to follow.

    @EvilDoer: Then again it comes back to Zardari Sb. and Nawaz Sharif’s wealth on which the nation calls for its rights. If both leaders become a part of the social reformation there is no reason for the world not to trust them, because these two will make sure there is a halt to corruption once their belongings are in the kitty.

    @Ali: True that KP has suffered the most, but this amount of $45b is as per the last estimate of Government of Pakistan, where Shah Mehmood Qureshi declared the losses incurred for fighting this imposed war. If the money is used to create employment and industries, very soon you will be able to develop any part of Pakistan that is needed. I am sure you know we need another $9billion to get back to what we were before the floods started in July 10.

    By improving on the law without amending it is creating awareness, transparent judicial process, and honest investigation assurances. Certain improvements with the process of announcing the punishment can keep the noise makers away. Because right now its become more of a political than a religious issue.Recommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali

    Express Tribune needs to fix its comments editing feature. When I typed the comments it showed numbers in front of each line of the comments, which corresponded with each of the Raza’s recommendations. But I don’t see any now.Recommend

  • syed shah

    if the president ever gets sincere in his efforts, every dptt will flourish in its own automatically…
    lest go for a simple solution…what if he just appoints an honest NAB head and assures him his full support, then you just see the results, if all the looted money is recovered i`m sure it will be more then enough to pay back most of our debts(if not all) and even for further developments…
    m just mentioning a very small but efficient step….Recommend

  • Raqib Ali

    It is Musharraf who should be sued for $45 billion as he joined a war without proper agreement and sureties from UNO etc. If he could not do it with all the powers, how could current ‘civilian’ (read weak) government do this?? It is Musharraf who should be held responsible for wasting our 8 years and giving current politicians clean slate (NRO).

    It is easy to blame Zardari or NS for corruption etc…. but who made them ‘zero meter’ after wasting 8 precious years of this nation who is merely 65 year old!!Recommend

  • Asif

    He should just resign. Recommend

  • Yousaf


  • parvez

    This is satire, right ???. If not, then I agree with @ kam – you lost me at “polished”.Recommend

  • abdullah

    the writer should stop begging this is our war v r being bombed not the americans so v should not beg 4 it
    marvi is not an angel v have more neutral and much more educated than her they should be appointed .instead of asking the poiticians 4 their assets he should emphasise on making gud strategies and policies and implementing them
    as a president he should have done
    1.promote education,spread justice, ELIMINATE CORRUPTION
    2..provide better healthcare facilities
    3..increse exports
    4.create jobs
    5.and stop all morons to come to parliament as they all cum now a days
    list could go on and on Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    @Majid Maqsood: MM because she is a renouned and a successful entrepreneur, she has launched and managed “Tracker” in Pakistan, which was and still remains a unique product. Most of all, she will stop being so angry and actually perform to show results on a national level, instead of usual protests and dharna’s :)

    @Yousaf: No one else, the PPP will have to do it. Unless they have todays’ crises planned yesterday.

    @Asif: When he resigns who takes over? Faryal Talpur? or Amin Faheem? they will prove to be worse than him.

    @abdullah: US$ 45Billion is our right! because we have suffered the losses for being a part of the Afghanistan war, and “looking both ways” in order to protect our future. Pakistan is not at fault, we are just keeping the world safe. If they don’t want to pay.. we shouldn’t bother either!

    @Liaquat Ali: Lol.. yes, many fat chances :) I also don’t see these happening, but then what are the options left?

    @Mohammad naeem: Correct, President Zardari has faced the worst over the years, and coming out it very well. Just some more corrections can lead him to success. Recommend

  • abdullah

    @S. Ali Raza:
    v dnt need 45 billion coz v dnt need 2 b international beggars and as this is our war so v realy need 2 bother coz i think that u r not sitting in khyber pakhtunkhwa and if u do u will cme 2 knw what ur lyf is about if v keep on begging our image will further b destroyed …and will also create problems in acessing intnl market..so lets rely on our own resource generation and work hard and smartRecommend

  • Usama Zafar

    There is a reason you are not Zardari. If he thought like you did we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place.Recommend

  • Umair Khan

    Not so much intrestingRecommend

  • http://www.LiaquatAli.com Liaquat Ali

    Don’t worry.

    As long as President Zardari is willing to give away a few juicy ministries, either PML-Q or PML-N will be willing to join in and keep the government intact, of course in the love of democracy and drum roll please…”in the larger interest of the nation.”

    All the PPP needs to do is to create a fake crisis or two and then call for “unity.”

    Of course I wish that I am dead wrong.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    Well it looks like, PM Gilani is set to go… Recommend

  • Asad

    Won’t work.Recommend

  • Ali Hassan

    No messing, but you also lost me at polished.Recommend

  • Tyrone

    Ur humour is lost on most!

    Good piece!Recommend

  • AHR

    Good One! it’s too much of a utopian dream to come true!Recommend

  • Samran warsi

    Great Propositions!!! Ali Bhai
    All the PPP needs to do is to create a fake crisis or two and then call for “unity.”

    Zardari Sb, after taking over as the PM, can nominate Nawaz as the President, to end any chances of political disagreements! After all the PM hold’s the power in Pakistan now :)

  • Syed Kashif Nawaz

    No doubts on YOUR sincerety, but when it comes to Zardari, Nawaz Shareef, Q-League or Fazal-ur-Rehman, everything seems to be doubtful! Recommend

  • http://pakistannrectifiedguy.wordpress.com/ Ammad Hafeez

    Lol, It’s good one. ;)
    You should write a piece about the PM saab ;) Hahaha He must required suggestions in critical time

  • Wasim Zaidi

    Good one!
    Very thought out proposal. However, Nawaz and his senior party leaders have time and again complained that in the 90s the country was moving towards a 2-party system, albeit PML-N and PPP. This was nipped in the bud by the powers to be, they complain. Both parties want smaller parties to be eliminated in the political grinding machine as much as possible. But whether it can happen is questionable.
    Question is; Is Asif Ali Zardari trust worthy?? Will he not stab Nawaz Sharif again? Is he capable of changing?Recommend

  • Amjad Qaim Khani

    Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Faryal Talpur & Dr. Hafeez Shaikh are under discussion for new responsibilities in future, Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker Abidi

    Did you notice the Prime Minister without his cabinet? He went alone to JI, PML-Q and to Shahbaz Sharif. It appears his own Ministers are fed up of his MBBS (Mian Bewee…) type of corruption and mismanagement with extremely poor administration.

    The President won’t ask him to go for a no confidence and neither of the parties are interested in moving a motion. Thus, he has little chances to continue like this, and may lead to a resignation.

    Mrs. Faryal Talpur, may also be the right candidate for the President seat if Zardari Sb, decides to take matters in his hands as the Premier.
    Now that the PM has asked Ministry of Petroleum to draft a reduction proposal in the fuel prices, he may not succeed because this reduction is reserved for the popular decision of the next PM.

    As the game ends Gilani sb will always be remembered as the one person who was responsible for the bad performance of PPP, and may perhaps be contesting NAB charges and cases that will follow his departure.Recommend

  • Bajwa

    Question about #7 :
    Do people agree with this?
    What is good about the Blasphemy laws? It will be used as a tool against aggression, no matter what – the comment made is naive. People deal with everything from being patronized to jail to death, only for their (nonviolent!) beleifs. No one who has any true faith could condemn a group of people and choose as a TOP 10 PRIORITY for the country to continue an act of pure hatred. In a country as distraught as Pakistan, it is a shame that this would be proposed to be in a top 10 … it gives everybody no hope for a brighter future. Pakistan is doomed.
    A person with any kind of true faith would not write an article containing such blasphemy. A person with any kind of true faith will not agree with a list that is tainted with the nonsense, ignorance, corruption, and hate that has ruined Pakistan for years.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/13/syed-ali/ S. Ali Raza

    Please note points 6 and 7 appear to be in place as of today :) Recommend

  • A

    Good ideas! You had me thinking at point 1: reaaally??
    at point 2 i went: yyeaaah right!!! nice joke!
    btw: he’s not polished but incapable to the core :-sRecommend