Adiala awaits its old inmate?

Published: July 15, 2018
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PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP

PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP

PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP The writer is a US-based journalist with over 30 years of experience

You want your morning laugh, here it comes: According to media reports the PPP ‘election cell’, believes that “candidates, [read Asif Zardari] who have a long history of democratic struggle, will not succumb to such tactics.” What is laughable is that Asif Zardari has a long, a very long, (alleged) history of corruption! And yet the man gets away with it each time. The latest case against him and sister Baji Faryal Talpur by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) accusing the duo of money laundering has been scuttled by the Supreme Court.

Sharif family meets Nawaz, Maryam for the first time in Adiala Jail

Should the PPP win and Zardari walk into the Presidency for the second time, the man will be untouchable. He will have presidential immunity as happened last time. His looting of state resources will begin on day one. Just imagine what that means. It means Pakistan can never get rid of this man because three attorneys, Aitzaz Ahsan, Farooq H Naik and Lateef Khosa, will always be around to get him out of jail free. Actually the last time Zardari got out of jail free was in 2008, thanks to then president Musharraf. In a bid to hang on to power, he got his attorney general Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum (remember this shady character?) to tell the Swiss to unfreeze Zardari’s $60 million that the Swiss government had frozen in 1997 on charges of corruption.

Justice Qayyum told the Swiss that neither Zardari nor Benazir Bhutto had done anything illegal and that the charges were politically motivated. Resultantly, the Swiss dropped a money-laundering case against Zardari. “For money laundering to be proven, you have to show it was the product of a crime, but we don’t have any evidence for a crime committed in Pakistan,” said the Swiss prosecutor general. In 2007, Zardari faked mental illness when asked to appear in person before a Swiss judge. According to the London-based Financial Times, Zardari’s two New York psychiatrists diagnosed him as suffering from severe depression, dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder during the 11 years he spent in prison under corruption charges. He also suffered from thoughts of suicide. But the next year, 2008, Zardari arrived from Dubai looking a picture of robust health with shining white teeth after Benazir’s assassination to lead the PPP to power and crown himself as the president.

SC lets Zardari, Faryal off the hook

Two perfectly legitimate questions deserved an answer in September 2008 from president Zardari: What was his current mental condition if indeed he was mentally handicapped only a year ago and was he still being treated by psychiatrists? Second, if $60 million did indeed belong to him, how did he earn this money while living in Pakistan? Neither the media nor anyone else confronted Zardari with these two questions. Instead, Zardari and Benazir were rewarded for their corruption by being gifted the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) from greedy Musharraf. He idiotically expected the couple would let him remain the president when they won the 2008 elections. Even, the Americans, responsible for negotiating the NRO, wondered about Zardari’s fitness to be the president. Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the then ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told Newsweek: “Typically, the US wouldn’t want that kind of person” involved in a nuclear chain of command. He wondered if Zardari was suicidal why his diagnosis was kept a secret. Presently Hoekstra is US ambassador to the Netherlands.

Because of the pernicious NRO (October 2007), shamelessly legitimising and pardoning corruption and heinous crimes of politicians like Zardari, Pakistan should get ready to see Zardari back in power. Where is the judiciary? Unless, our apex court practises zero tolerance for corruption, Pakistanis will helplessly watch people in power pillage their state resources. If Nawaz Sharif and his daughter can be thrown in the clinker, why should Zardari and sister Faryal be allowed to stand in the elections? They will win and wreak havoc!

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2018.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Jul 15, 2018 - 9:49AM

    This weasel is certainly more wily than the Sharifs combined. Not only that, he knows exactly which buttons to press to inveigle his way through legal obstacles. Looks like even the SC and IK and our press can’t touch him.Recommend

  • Farooq Ahmed
    Jul 15, 2018 - 1:02PM

    Best article in a long time.Recommend

  • favotite
    Jul 15, 2018 - 2:47PM

    Mashaallah..full column on AZ telling us same old and stale stories of AZ’s rampant corruption. Writers seem to have some prejudice. I though agree with the writer that apex court should practice zero tolerance for corruption but I also know that it will never happen. because the court will have to clean its own institution first and then some other power full quarters where even angels fear to tread. Unfortunately, politicians are not the only corrupt lot in this land of the pure.Recommend

  • Naseer ul Islam Abbasi
    Jul 15, 2018 - 4:11PM

    100% truth. Agree with the arguments, but the million dollar question is, who will bell the cat?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jul 15, 2018 - 5:13PM

    Brilliant…..brilliant…..brilliant.Recommend

  • FM Khan
    Jul 15, 2018 - 9:36PM

    Your Honor, Mr Chief Justice of Pakistan, where are you now, when the people really need you — no where in sight! Story of Pakistani! Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jul 15, 2018 - 11:45PM

    Second attempt : Brilliant…brilliant…brilliant.Recommend

  • Hasan Azad
    Jul 16, 2018 - 9:03AM

    Is it an article, or piece of smear hateful, full of blatant lies, character assassination campaign against PPP leaderships. Haters will hate and write anything to plese their masters, but AZ faced 13+ years of life in prisons, he faced courts, he faced both democratic Mian sb and Military Mushraf sb and never succumbed to their pressure, they couldn’t find anything but all they could do was RUN character assassination campaign and put him in Jail for years. AZ is Mandela of Pakistan who suffered atrocities, years of life spent without family in prison on fake cases and at the end all were proven fake by our SC. Now shame on those who are going to blame SC for this. Once again condemn hateful and filthy language written in this article, such pieces of personal attacks must NOT get space in the well respect ET news. ThanksRecommend

  • Hamza
    Jul 16, 2018 - 6:24PM

    There is no chance of them coming back to power againRecommend

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