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  Asia-Pacific
Zardari's Role in Pakistan Politics
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
The future of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari

1988 will always be remembered as an important political year in history of India & Pakistan. This was the age, when after the death of his mother Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi became the youngest Prime Minister of India. At the same time Benazir Bhutto was ruling as the youngest Prime Minister in the neighbouring country Pakistan. Not only this, Benazir Bhutto became the first ever woman Prime Minister of any Islamic country.

This was the time, when the world looked with expectations towards the youngest Prime Ministers of India & Pakistan as they were young, attractive, liberal & secular. In India, Rajiv Gandhi ruled over India from 1984 to 1989 & Begum Benazir Bhutto ruled over Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 & again from 1993 to 1996. The year 1988-89 was the period when these youngest ever Prime Ministers were ruling over both the neighbouring countries. I remember the lines written by a poet in the editorial columns of a prominent Indian newspaper in connection with Rajiv Gandhi & Begum Bhutto:-

Kaisi Taqdeer Tune Paai Hai, Terey Haathon ko Kya Lakeer Mili,

Pahle Kursi Mili Hukumat ki, phir Padosan Bhi Benazir Mili, means…

'What a luck you have got, what the lines in your hands you got,

First you got the chair of power, Then Benazir (incredible) as a neighbour you got'

Anyhow, at present the political scene in these both countries have completely changed. But a great similarity can be seen in this change. Both Rajiv Gandhi & Benazir Bhutto sacrificed their lives because of terrorism. Here the congressmen in India gave full regards to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi & elected her as the President of the Congress Party & on the other side, Zardari, who is the widower of Begum Bhutto, has been elected as the acting president of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Now, there are guesses that Zardari may be the Prime Minister of Pakistan. So because of the similar political situation, many political analysts are not only comparing the politics of India & Pakistan but they are comparing Sonia Gandhi & Asif Ali Zardari also. The main reason of this comparison is that as Congress is the largest political party in Central Government of India & there is the present UPA government in power under the leadership of Congress. The political observers feel that despite the fact that Dr. Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister of UPA government that is ruling the Central government, but he takes the advice of Sonia Gandhi before taking any major political step.

As the role of Sonia Gandhi is being valued more than that of the Prime Minister & on the other hand similar situations are arising out in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. As her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is a minor for active politics, so her widower Asif Ali Zardari is the successor of Begum Bhutto, this time. The fresh elections held in Pakistan verify the same & clear that the Pakistan Peoples Party of Benazir Bhutto is the largest political party in Pakistan. Now in Pakistan, under the fresh circumstances, the PPP & the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) the parties that were against each other, have now decided to make a coalition government. Under this agreement, the post of Prime Minister will remain for the Pakistan Peoples Party. Besides this, the posts of the Speaker & Vice President of Pakistan National Assembly will go in favour of the PPP. Whereas the post of the speaker & the deputy speaker in the assembly of Punjab state will go to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

Under the above circumstances, when Asif Ali Zardari has declared to be not in the race of the Prime Minister & Nawaz Sharif is not going to be the Prime Minister, will there be a Prime Minister of independent thoughts & that too nominated by PPP? Or the Prime Minister that will dance on the tunes of Asif Ali Zardari as a rubber stamp? Or Zardari himself would be the future of Pakistan as a P.M.? Regarding Kashmir, Zardari in his fresh statement has tried to give a message that he will try to strengthen the relations between India & Pakistan & the complicated issue of Kashmir will be kept aside. Now, as far as Sonia Gandhi is concerned, her political status can be guessed that she was declared worlds second most powerful woman. In India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, wherever the Congress has its base, there is special affection of the people for Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi & specially the Nehru Gandhi family. After leaving her country & her culture, Sonia Gandhi has taken care of the political heredity of Rajiv Gandhi, is a rare example of sacrifice in the world. This is the reason that the blame of opposition of calling the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a shadow Prime Minister keeps no value. After being elected as the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi sacrificed this chair & didn't take oath. This is the rarest example of political sacrifice. This made her, the apple of eyes, for the people of India.

Asif Ali Zardari is also being compared to Sonia Gandhi in Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari, who belongs to the Shia family, was born on July 21, 1956 in Karachi, in the family of industrialists. His father Hakim Ali Zardari was a famous industrialist in Pakistan Zardari was married to Benazir Bhutto on December 18, 1987. The father of three children, Asif Ali Zardari remained a member of the Pakistan National Assembly & again the minister for environment when Begum Bhutto was Prime Minister for the second time. In 1990, Zardari was arrested under a false case of blackmailing an industrialist Murtaza Bukhari & withdrawing money from his account. But in 1993, when Begum Bhutto again came in power, all the cases were withdrawn. During this period, Zardari took oath as the Minister for Environment, under Begum Bhutto. During this period too, Zardari was accused of embezzlement of millions of rupees. Zardari did this, under the planning of plantation movement throughout Pakistan. It is now wrong to say that Zardari was so much involved in the corruption, when he was Environment Minister, that he was called as Mr. Ten Percent. Zardari had to remain in jail from 1997 to 2004 because of the accusation of corruption & murder. Today Zardari is not only owner of a big & beautiful golf course in Islamabad but has many industrial, residential & agricultural properties in Pakistan also. He has grand residential properties & farm houses in Dubai & Manhattan. He is accused of storing the 4.35 dollars property in England, through his corruption money.

There may be similar political conditions in India & Pakistan but political comparison in these two countries is not possible. In India, a dictator can't oust the elected democratic government. There are no serious accusations of corruption against any high profile political person. And above all, it is unfortunate that a person like Zardari is going to be the future of Pakistan. The two opponents of Musharraf may have joined hands against Musharraf. As the decision of Parvez Musharraf of ousting Nawaz Sharif from power, can't be said right, in the same way the person like Asif Ali Zardari, who is totally involved in corruption how can be accepted as king maker or future of Pakistan.



Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
     Shia-Sunni Conflict: An Outcome of American ...
     Pakistan on the Verge of Collapse
     Likelihood of Military Rule in Pakistan
     Why the Fatwa against Terrorism Is ...
     Angola: A Conspiracy to Ban Islam?


Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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