I Told You So
By Sardar Mumtaz Ali Bhutto
Readers will recall my repeated warnings that a man with Zardari’s reputation, who has no educational or political background and lacks all the other prerequisites of leadership, will be an absolute disaster in a minor office leave alone the top position in the country. This has proved to be true in the short period of six months leading to a nation wide upheaval. His claim to fame rests entirely on being the husband of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and spending eight years in jail. Let us look at these laurels a bit closer: Shaheed Benazir, in her book “Daughter Of The East”, confesses to marrying him under relentless pressure from mother and aunts and his own perseverance in the face of repeated rejection, but hastens to add that there was no love or even affection involved.
Of course it is also true that the last ten years of the marriage were spent in estrangement for reasons that are stated below. It is however surprising that she was unable to control him during her two terms in office when he went on a rampage for which he has acquired the internationally acclaimed and rather modest sobriquet of Mr. 10%. For the veracity of this epithet let us not depend on the bouquet of corruption cases against him even though two, the Surrey Palace and money laundering cases, in Jersey and Switzerland stand proved, but recall the laments of the people at large and even Jialas.
Accepting the principal that there is no smoke without fire and the fact that before marriage, the Zardari family had nothing to show but a cinema house in Karachi, many questions arise about his lifestyle not only in the country but more so abroad. The internet discloses mansions and lands in various countries, twenty seven bank accounts and forty five off shore companies, the minimum value of which is placed at over two billion dollars and this does not include the cash balances in the twenty seven bank accounts, which remains unknown. More recently he took a plane load of people for Umra at a claimed personal cost of twenty five million rupees and has gifted five million rupees to his old school at Petaro.
During these days of world wide economic collapse, when even international banks have been wiped out, for someone to throw money around in this manner indicates a huge reservoir of wealth. Added to the corruption cases are the four murder charges including that of Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto, who was gunned downed by the police in broad day light, at a time when his sister was the Prime Minister of Pakistan. It is very significant that all the involved policemen have now been rewarded. All the above is a matter of record and cannot be concealed.
It is claimed that the two years he spent in jails and six in a luxury hospital in Islamabad are a sacrifice for the nation thereby establishing his claim to the highest offices in the country. No one cares that such a practice is extremely dangerous as it opens up the portals of power to murderers and thieves who sit in death rows orjails through out the country. Of course the beneficiaries of Zardari’s meteoric assent from purgatory to the presidency, albeit as a result of the murder of his wife, explain away that he was not convicted in the long period of ten years and is therefore innocent.
Not quite so. It must not be concealed that he was not acquitted either and he and his cohorts have been reprieved only by the unconstitutional and immoral NRO . Besides in public life it is what the people believe and the disgrace that matters, not conviction. He was elected president on an indirect vote of assembly members who got a mandate to avenge the murder of Shaheed Benazir and provided Roti, Kapra, Makan ( they have done neither ) and not to elect Zardari. If even at the emotionally charged time of the polls this question had been put to the people the answer would definitely have been in the negative as the people hold Zardari guilty as charged and also responsible for the murder of his wife whose killers he professes to know.
The belief is strengthened by the fact that no complaint has been filed in fifteen months which normally is a knee jerk reaction to even a petty crime leave alone murder of an international leader and mother of his children, in whose name he continues to thrive. In any case he has been convicted in the two cases cited above. As for the long duration of the trials, eight years is no big deal. We all know and speaking from personal experience, cases in our courts go on for ever. However the delay was compounded by Zardari himself who feigned mental illness, heart trouble and back pain (all of which have suddenly disappeared) to obstruct progress and conviction.
As for the distress of imprisonment, here too there is no cause for complaint he being most of the time ensconced in a luxury hospital where all the comforts of a five star hotel were available together with unrestricted visitors and frequent releases on parole with first class travel at government expenses. However it is also being said that he was kept in the hospital at Islamabad to facilitate accessibility to foreign and local intelligence agencies.
It is reported that these agencies tutored and trained him for the role of being their man in the PPP.. That he was released and sent abroad to join his wife when he was deemed ready to effectively play his part. But she had somehow discovered the conspiracy. Hence his banishment to purgatory with talk of divorce after the elections.
However after Zardari’s suicidal stand on the judges issue and the resounding defeat there on, it has become impossible to keep him afloat. The honorable thing for him to do is to quit and take the team of his partners in crime, who surround him, with him. What is desperately required in the present mess is a leader in the true sense of the word who commands trust and respect. Zardari and his cohorts do not and cannot meet the requirement.
The Chaos that is rampant today is the consequence of not only Zardari’s unfitness for the job but also the concept of reconciliation : This has given us a political set up, devoid of ideology and principals in which it is proudly proclaimed there is no last word, allowing lots of space for playing tricks and cheating. Reconciliation is merely an invitation to come and sit at the banquet of government and indulge to the hilt. The main purpose is to rope in all dissent so that no one is left out to complain.
As a consequence we have the proponents of Nizam-e- Mustafa / Shariat, leftists, Nationalists, adventures with no commitment to the people, who believe only in being with the government of the day or as close to it as possible, joining the majority party which calls itself the “chain of federation” to enjoy the perks and pleasure of power. Such a conglomerate of adversities is a non starter ab initio.
Apart from the huge costs to the exchequer of providing ministerships to all and accommodating everyone to his satisfaction, it is impossible to have a lasting state of harmony among these basically conflicting interests, as we see today. There is nothing for the people in reconciliation as the experience of the last twelve months has proved. Never before have the people of Pakistan been so deprived and destitute and the government of the day so helpless and useless.
There is no surprise that reconciliation has blown up and the country is once again at the crossroads of uncertainty. This scenario was easy to predicted at the start when, of all people, Zardari become the master of the destiny of one hundred and sixty million Pakistan .