Stories about Asif Ali Zardari

Dissecting the political future of PPP

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect military interventions. The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be. However, since the demise of Benazir, the PPP, which once enjoyed a strong vote bank in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is not doing so well there during the recent elections. It seems that PPP has now only been limited to the province ...

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Is a PML-N resurgence on the cards?

On Tuesday, the stalwarts of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal were both granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Given that PML-N has adopted a much softer line of political rhetoric and has completely ditched its narrative of “respect the vote” in an effort to mend fences with the powers that be, Abbasi and Iqbal receiving bail was not particularly surprising. It appears that a new power-sharing deal between the PML-N and the establishment is being negotiated through the back channels. However, the Punjab government’s decision to recommend to the federal government to not extend Nawaz Sharif’s bail came ...

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In conversation with Pervez Hoodbhoy – Part 3: South Asian politics and culture

This conversation with Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers Pakistan’s education system. Part 2 discusses Pakistan’s language conundrum . Part 3 includes a conversation regarding South Asian politics and culture. ~ South Asian Politics and Culture Hassan Mirza (HM): Was India ever a proper democracy? Pervez Hoodbhoy (PH): India was a secular democracy in its first few decades but, like Pakistan, is now becoming a majoritarian democracy. That’s very dangerous for minorities. There’s a real danger of the two countries becoming mirror copies. For example, last year I arranged a talk by the anti-Modi Indian liberal politician, Mani Shankar Aiyar, at Forman Christian ...

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How will Pakistan’s political chessboard shape up in 2020?

We have finally bid adieu to the second decade of the 21st century, a decade that saw the rise of conservatives and nationalist political figures such as incumbent US President Donald Trump, recently elected British Prime Minister Borris Johnson and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi. Even in Pakistan, we voted in a prime minister who leans heavily towards nationalist principles. While India is facing a political turmoil as a result of Modi’s Hindutva-centric narrative, Pakistan is also facing a self-inflicted political deadlock due to the policies of the federation. The ruling party is busy trying to create an impression that all is ...

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Should we pretend to be surprised at Zardari’s release?

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari has been granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A two member bench of the IHC, which comprised of Justice Athar Minhullah and Justice Amir Farooq, granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds. Zardari, who was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier in July, had already been admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences previously where he was under treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Zardari’s bail did not come as a surprise, especially after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given bail on ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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As we bid farewell to Nawaz, what fate awaits Zardari?

As expected, Nawaz Sharif finally flew abroad today on his own conditions after getting permission from the Lahore High Court (LHC). His illness, as mentioned in my previous piece, led to a reworking of the nation’s political chessboard. Not only did it bring the issue of political victimisation at the hands of the incumbent government into the limelight but it also forced Pakistan’s powerful quarters to tell the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that enough with the accountability narrative, get to work on fixing the economy and other governance issues. Furthermore, the change in the tone of the PTI allies, both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ...

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How Nawaz Sharif’s illness has changed Pakistan’s political chessboard

As per expectations, the Islamabad High Court suspended the imprisonment of Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference case for eight weeks. The high court cited his deteriorating health condition as the reason for doing so. Since being hospitalised last week, Nawaz has been battling ill health while the current government and its backers are praying for his early recovery. This is perhaps a situation where even the worst of Nawaz’s visible and invisible opponents want him to recover from his illness as soon as possible. As a result, Nawaz’s critical illness has actually changed the dynamics of the power chessboard, and the government of Pakistan ...

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The curious case of Pakistan’s political prisoners

On Monday night, Nawaz Sharif was taken to a hospital for a medical check-up, but Maryam Nawaz’s request to visit her father at the hospital was rejected by a court in Lahore today. Similarly, Asif Ali Zardari was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for treatment yesterday. Both these visits come after intense back and forth between the ruling party and the opposition regarding the conditions of the jail cells in which several politicians are currently being kept. The state of the jail cells, and the charges under which these politicians have been arrested has led to much scrutiny ...

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Fazlur Rehman and the art of staying politically relevant

Maulana Fazlur Rehman is well versed in the art of staying relevant. Despite the constant shifts on the political chessboard, Rehman has proven himself to be a very shrewd politician with excellent political acumen. Rehman’s ‘Azadi march’ aims to end as a sit-in against the incumbent government until Imran Khan resigns and dissolves the National Assembly. The fervent support base that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) enjoys means that Rehman and his followers are unlikely to be deterred by the continuous warnings from Interior Minister Ijaz Shah. If the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government really wanted to avoid Rehman’s impending march and sit-in, it ...

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