Will he, won’t he; will he, won’t he; will he, won’t he: was the constant media and public refrain about the return to the homeland — rather like the old daisy petal plucking game. Well, anyone with any nous who has been around and in thinking mode since the late 1980s, would have surely known that Asif Zardari ‘will’ unless he was physically and mentally unable to.
He has never been a quitter, he is no runner. His multiple sins, the well-known, internationally and nationally famed corruption, his feudal mindset and the general hanky-panky at all of which he is eminently adept, may be lumped against him justifiably, but to imagine that he had gone, fled, or whatever, was sheer stupidity (so far).
He’s going nowhere, unless, as he himself said quite some time ago, he is carried out, feet first, of the somewhat vulgar presidency of Islamabad or the even more vulgar second official residence of Karachi — both thoroughly bunkered with security measures that defy logic. Now that he is back, the initial rumour was that he was but here for three days; that passed. Then the current rumour has it that after the death anniversary of his wife on December 27, he will do another bunk. Bunkum! He may be in a bit of a bind with his immunity status at the moment and that immunity, or lack of it, is and should be, his prime concern.
A mass of his ill-wishers cannot figure out why he just does not give it all up and get out into the world and enjoy the billions he has allegedly amassed gratis Pakistan. Apart from the immunity danger, there seems no reason why he can’t, to the best of his ability, enjoy the alleged famed billions and, at the same time, relish the power he has as a head of state and a political party manipulator.
Asif Zardari has no problem kow-towing to the generals who are the true supreme commanders of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and he has no problem doing the bidding of the western powers that put him where he is in their own national interests. Though worries he must have, such as how best to deal with the ways and means of hanging on to what he actually does have.
The current situation with the US possibly might be a bit of travail for him — though no one knows what happens behind those closed doors. He has the happy knack of remaining silent on any tricky situation that arises. He condemns no one, he defends no one. He ignores those who slam him in print or verbally — wisely as he may have no valid answers or counter-attacks. Unlike his acolytes, he does not twitter on about sovereignty, dignity, national honour, unity, faith, discipline, or the will of the people and other such idiotic (considering the state of the nation) phrases with which we are bombarded. He alone utters not — not even on the contentious memo matter in which he is involved.
As a friend’s friend, how about a word for Husain Haqqani, the national media’s whipping boy? No man can be condemned without being heard and without facts being fully and truthfully revealed.
At this fraught point in US-Pakistan relations, maybe we are missing the Haqqani skills and contacts to ward off what the US seems hell-bent on inflicting upon a recalcitrant Pakistan through circumstances of the ‘establishment’s’ making.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.