Stories about President Zardari

“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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Why Obama would handle Pakistan’s floods better

Earlier this week the East Coast of the United States battled Hurricane Sandy. A storm of epic proportions dubbed by American’s as ‘Frankenstorm’, Sandy ripped through the Caribbean, Cuba, and East Coast wreaking havoc on the way. New York City blacked out and 80 homes burned to the ground as fire fighters were unable to reach the area. The iconic boardwalk from Seaside Heights, also known as Jersey Shore is now in pieces; people are without power and many are homeless. In response, much to his party’s chagrin, New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie set aside partisan politics and worked ...

Read Full Post

Can the PPP actually win the next general elections?

President Zardari, during his visit to interior Sindh, claimed that his party will win the next general elections and will form governments in all the provinces. Political commentators are discussing  several theories to explain this rather surprising statement by the President. Some believe that the outcome of the by-election in NA-151, where Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated Shaukat Bosan, has given President Zardari this confidence. According to others, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson is banking on a divided opposition to win the next elections. Regardless of the basis of his claim, it has triggered a debate in Pakistan and most people seem to ...

Read Full Post

Thank you to the Supreme Court for keeping the media busy!

Thank you very much, Chief Justice. Had it not been for the Supreme Court the media — journalists, television anchors, columnists and many others related to the vocation— would have been struggling to find something newsworthy during the Holy month of Ramazan. Though our national character is known for being laidback, the month of Ramazan brings with it some additional lethargy, where no one is ready to do whatever he/she is supposed to be doing. Perhaps, everyone is witness to the fact that when you go to get something done, people at the helm of affairs are seen taking extra credit ...

Read Full Post

CJ Chaudhry and Zardari are here to stay

The Supreme Court’s disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister of Pakistan has brought us to an unprecedented state of affairs in Pakistan’s history. The court has, without a doubt, played its part in dislodging prime ministers before, but in the past it was acting, almost without exception, at the behalf of someone else – usually the army. However, this time the court is acting independently, without any coordination with the so-called establishments. This is evident from the very facts at hand; the court has effectively brought the constitutional machinery of this country to a standstil. But neither the Army ...

Read Full Post

What the NATO Summit achieved

The Pakistanis came, they didn’t quite conquer, and now they’re leaving. At the end of the day, the NATO Summit in Chicago produced no news, and yet there was much to report. With hundreds of media personnel camped at the massive media centre at McCormick Place, the venue of the summit, the subject of the day remained Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reporters tried to work out whether Pakistan would announce the re-opening of the supply routes, an issue that has been raised in nearly every press conference that took place during the summit. All that work really was in vain – Pakistan ...

Read Full Post

Who will save democracy now?

I was 15 when Musharraf toppled the elected government in Pakistan. I’m a middle class guy who grew up reading Urdu dailies. I grew up thinking that our politicians are incapable of doing anything good and that the military should govern the country exactly like it does in Myanmar. I grew up thinking that Pakistan and India can never be friends. With time, I started reading publications from different parts of the world. This made me rethink my perceptions regarding democracy. When the elected government of the Peoples’ Party returned to power in 2008, I was as happy as any other ...

Read Full Post

The PIA problem

This article is not written with the intent of defending President Asif Ali Zardari or his party.It aims to illustrate how the hyper personalisation of politics and governance in Pakistan has created unachievable expectations for quick fixes, based on overly simplistic explanations of state failure. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is an illustration of perhaps the biggest disservice the president has done for his country; he allowed himself to become a lightning rod for every explanation of state failure. By explaining the poor performance of the state to the person who occupies the Presidency, we overlook the many structural, underlying and historical reasons that perpetuate state failure. The dominant ...

Read Full Post

Discourse on corruption: an exercise in futility

If there’s one thing that captures public imagination in this country, it’s the phenomenon of corruption. The very word, thrown around in public discourse by politicians, talk show hosts and drawing room conversationalists, is as omnipresent as the occurrence of the phenomenon itself. Although the idea of ‘scourging’ Pakistan of corrupt politicians appeals to our morality-crazed middle class, my argument is that this paradigm is an inherently flawed way of viewing the problem. Asking Nawaz Sharif or President Zardari to declare their assets is not going to rid the country of corruption – and here is why. Corruption and fraud are ...

Read Full Post