Stories about Asif Ali Zardari

Unimpressed and unmoved by Bilawal Bhutto’s speech

Bilawal Bhutto’s speech at Karachi’s Karsaz on the sixth anniversary of the unfortunate Oct 18, 2007 bombings has created quite a stir. As a son who lost a brave mother to rabid radicalisation, one feels that the emotionally-charged display of passion in front of an audience of die-hard jiyalas was all but natural, and perfectly anticipated.  Towing the line of populist politics introduced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bilawal did a good job with a crowd that seemed to be only following half of what their 26-year-old chairman conveyed. His body language apparently conveyed the remaining half, complete with waving fists ...

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“Democracy is the best revenge,” President Zardari’s legacy

I can say with some confidence that President Zardari’s legacy will be written in golden words. I don’t say this as his son, or patron-and-chief of the Pakistan People’s Party – but as a student of history. I would compare his presidency to that of America’s Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ). He too was an accidental president. He came to power following the assassination of the popular and charismatic John F Kennedy. Much like Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, JFK was assassinated before he could implement much of his agenda and vision for the country. LBJ used the political capital he gained following ...

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Mr Asif Ali Zardari, you have done it!

September 8, 2013 is a day for both history and headlines in Pakistan. A historically unprecedented and smooth transfer of presidential power has taken place in our constitutional and political history. There has been no coup d’état by a general, no declaration of emergency, no suspension, abrogation or subversion of the constitution and no declaration of a fifth martial law in the country. A democratically elected head of state has completed his full term and has vacated the office in line with the theory and practice of constitutional provisions. All the headlines emanating from former president Asif Ali Zardari’s completion ...

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Presidential elections: Is Mr Mamnoon Hussain the right choice?

Yay! We have a new president. Start the celebrations, the bhangras, the parties, the mithai and all the fun that we can never have enough off. It seems, however, that the news reached Dera Ismail Khan earlier than expected; they started the festivities around midnight with all the blasts and fireworks. No wait. Those were terrorists breaching the central jail confines and breaking free over 200 prisoners. The fact that they managed to accomplish this mission, just a few days after the blasts in Parachinar, is a reminder for all of us about how the government is finding it hard to deal ...

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On dynastic politics and feudalism: A response to Salman Ahmad

Renowned Pakistan musician Salman Ahmad wrote a piece published in The Express Tribune on December 31, 2012. I have tried in the following paragraphs to rebut his argument by pointing out factual inaccuracies in the piece. Mr Ahmad begins with castigating the ‘feudal elite’ of the country while citing the instance of the chilling murder of Shahzeb Khan, gunned down in Karachi by the ‘sons of corrupt feudal elite that Bilawal represents’. Aside from inherent flaws of inductive reasoning employed by Mr Ahmad, feudalism has come to be a whipping boy when it comes to a simplistic explanation of multifaceted problems ...

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The ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon

It all started out with Zulfiqar Mirza, and the trend has spread like fire through the upper echelons of our political elite: what I like to refer to as the ‘firebrand press conference’ phenomenon. Every couple of weeks (or so it appears) a member of one political party or another calls an ever-hungry media to an event which promises to reveal the ‘shocking’ corrupt practices our political leaders indulge in. Karachi was thrown into an uproar in 2011 when Mirza, the former Sindh home minister, furiously waved around an important-looking sheaf of papers claiming to have evidence against Muttahida Qaumi ...

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Happy birthday President Asif Ali Zardari!

Back in 2007 as the lawyers’ movement gained momentum, it attracted abrupt attention of a youth brought up in the ‘prosperity bubble’ of a military regime. With little sense of our history and politics, many (including me) got carried away in the sway of events that followed. More in sheer aversion for a uniformed dictator than in admiration of a principled man in robes. Putting out the fire of secessionist sentiments in Sindh after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the garrison city of Rawalpindi was met with utter disregard by the self righteous urban bourgeoisie and their corporate ...

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Corruption is middle-class morality

While millions of Pakistanis expressed their astonishment and dissatisfaction with the election of Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on June 22, the news didn’t come to me as a shock at all. Raja Pervez Ashraf has been widely criticised; the new prime minister has been labelled in the media as “Raja Rental” because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken being the water and power minister. An investigation to which, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), is still in progress against him. History is riddled with examples of corrupt politicians being rehabilitated. Ayub Khan disqualified politicians who were later placed in ministerial offices. ...

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Greece wishes it used the Pakistani rupee!

Moody’s, one of the three biggest ratings agencies in the US, recently sent Pakistan’s credit rating one grade lower into ‘junk’ territory. That is the lowest rating ever bestowed on Pakistan’s sovereign debt. For a relative comparison, Moody’s ranks India’s government-issued debt six spots above Pakistan’s, while Bangladesh’s debt is three spots higher than ours. However, I’d like to make a bow to the optimistic people in our country who insist that we have what it takes to be ‘self-sufficient’ and say that our credit rating is still above that of Greece’s. That’s right. The eurozone’s bane of existence was ...

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A good time to cultivate relations with India

On a lazy Sunday morning on April 8 this year, President Asif Ali Zardari flew into New Delhi. His host, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was waiting to receive him with open arms and on the table were not only the best delicacies of his country, but also the agenda on which the future of the region and perhaps, the world hinges on. In my opinion, the visit was crucial, not only because it enabled the top leaders of two hostile nations to come together, but also because its timing was of immense significance. It came about when the US and ...

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