Tag Archive: Asif Ali Zardari


We often say that Pakistan’s problems can be solved through drastic measures and such decisions which are unpopular. It is a fact that no government elected by the people and brought to power by greedy coalition partners can take such unpopular decisions, be it Zardari, Sharif or anyone else. There is, however, some ray of hope. There is one leader who is known for taking unpopular decisions. In fact the only decisions that he takes without consultations subsequently turn out to be unpopular. But he is out of Pakistan and trying hard to be able to come back and remain untouched by those who want his head to be on the chopping board. The Express Tribune has reported that the Government of Pakistan is said to be under unprecedented pressure from the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to pave the way for a safe, secure and honorable homecoming for former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

They are also said to have asked Islamabad to initiate steps to build a favourable political image of the former military dictator and ensure that upon his return home, he will not be harassed by court cases and the police.

According to an understanding reached between the UAE and Pakistan several months ago, it was decided that the Pakistani government would facilitate Musharraf’s return as soon as the two-year bar on his participation in politics ends, sources said. Official sources claimed that the pressure had already forced President Asif Ali Zardari to curtail his visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

This extraordinary interest of UAE rulers in Pakistan’s internal affairs, especially in Musharraf’s political future, was thrown into light once again due to UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al Nahyan’s covert visit to Islamabad within three days of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) announcement that Musharraf has been included in the investigation of former premier Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. He spent a mere 30 minutes with President Zardari before heading back home but, immediately after his visit, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media that the government did not intend to question Musharraf. Rehman, on November 27, categorically said that the government had not taken any decision to include Musharraf in the probe.

 

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Remember that old fellow from the US State Department hired by Obama Administration for  matters relating to Pakistan, that unwelcome guest and a frequent Pakistan visitor who irritates and annoys every time he opens his mouth, that Richard Holbrooke who, in the most difficult hour of Pakistani people made most insensitive remarks about Pakistan and its friends? An average American understands and respects the sensitivities of other people but this special representative of the representatives of Americans only added insult to injury of the hapless Pakistanis whose leaders have sold them so cheap that their very mention in the WikiLeaks produces nothing but a foul stink and stench.

It has now been revealed by Sify News that he has been sharing information he possesses on Pakistan in his official capacity with India. According to the agency, US special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari‘s government was weakening. This again was revealed by whistle blowing website WikiLeaks. In a meeting with Rao Jan 18, 2010 in New Delhi, Holbrooke spoke about the evolving political landscape in Pakistan with a ‘weakening’ President Zardari and the relationship between chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, The News International reported.

This man is the most serious security threat to Pakistan and should be banned from entering the country if he is not fired by Obama Administration.

During the meeting, Rao described the Indian effort in Afghanistan, saying it was focused on strengthening governance by building Afghan capacities and that the Indian engagement is transparent and should not be threatening to Pakistan. She said India needs some deliverables on terrorism before it can engage in bilateral talks with Pakistan. Holbrooke also pledged transparency with India on America’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

 

The infamous Blasphemy Law introduced by Zia in his attempts to appease the clergy and perpetuate his rule, has become center of attention once again. It is being used to defame Pakistan and pressurize the West to stop helping Pakistan. Ever since passage of this law, the reported incidents of blasphemy have increased. These incidents are being blown up to give a message that minorities in Pakistan, and particularly the Christians, have contempt for the religion of Islam and its Prophet.It gives an impression that the law itself incites blasphemy.

Fact of the matter is that prosecution under this law does not take the due process as in case of other offenses with the result that chances of its misuse for settling personal vendetta have increased manifold. Human rights organizations have demanded its repeal whereas conservative religious elements who rule the roost in Pakistan are not prepared to let anyone talk about, let alone revise it. There is a general perception that the accused woman is innocent and has been accused to teach her a lesson. Her clemency appeal is being processed for Zardari’s approval and there are chances that she would be granted pardon and let off the hook. Once freed, she would be worried for her safety unless she is granted asylum in one of the countries abroad.

According to Washington Post, the sentence against Asia Bibi has called new attention to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which critics say is used to persecute minorities, fan religious extremism and settle personal vendettas. Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, has already spent 1 1/2 years in jail. A court sentenced her Nov. 8 to hang after convicting her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She says she was falsely accused by a group of village Muslim women angry with her after a dispute over whether they could share the same water bowl.

Pope Benedict XVI appealed last week for her release, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has asked for a review of the facts of the case, raising the possibility of a presidential pardon. Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who is preparing the report for Zardari, said his preliminary investigations indicate that Bibi was wrongly accused.

“I am convinced that she is innocent and she was wrongly sentenced to death,” Bhatti said.

A provincial official delivered a petition from Bibi for clemency to the president’s office on Monday, Bhatti said. He said he will submit his own report to Zardari on Wednesday, and then the president will make a decision. “I am optimistic about her release,” he said.

Asia’s lawyer has filed an appeal with a higher court in the southern city of Lahore, but she could be freed by a presidential pardon at any time. Pakistan’s Christians, who make up less than 5 percent of the Muslim-majority country‘s 175 million people, are frequently the targets of accusers invoking the law, Bhatti said.

Zardari’s charm offensive…..

Those who were upset about Obama’s Indian visit ignoring Pakistan should have some sigh of relief; Pakistan’s long-term friend who knows sensitivities of the Pakistani nation, has decided to balance the act. Is it a direct outcome of President Zardari’s charms he was trying to use on Chinese leaders ever since his installation, only the time will tell.  Internet News sites have reported that the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, will visit Pakistan next month for talks aimed at “deepening strategic cooperation”, Beijing announced on Friday. During talks in Guangzhou with Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, Mr. Wen said he would press for the restructuring of ties to enable “formal and structured dialogue” at the ministerial level, the official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported.

The proposed change in the way the China-Pakistan joint economic council works, in effect, replicates the structure of the United States’ “strategic dialogue” with Pakistan, which is handled in working groups on a sector-by-sector basis. Analysts said the visit of the Pakistani president, who was honoured as a chief guest at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, was not previously scheduled, and was meant as a diplomatic riposte to the visit last week of Barack Obama, the US president, to India.

Mr Zardari’s visit to Guangzhou was his sixth to China since assuming office in August 2008.

“There is a consistent pattern. Every time the US asserts its diplomatic presence in South Asia, whether in talks with Pakistan or India, Mr Zardari goes to China,” said Aamir Ghauri, editor of The Asian Journal, a London-based electronic newspaper. The analysts said Pakistan considered China a more reliable superpower to ally itself with than the US, which is expected to play a lesser role in South Asia after it withdraws from Afghanistan.

Pakistan is already largely dependent on transfers of technology and money from China for military equipment and nuclear power generation. China has recently expanded its cooperation with Pakistan in nuclear power generation, announcing plans over the last 12 months to build three plants in Pakistan. Pakistan has pressed for a similar arrangement with the US which, in 2008, agreed to supply India with nuclear power technology. A security official, speaking privately, said Pakistan would continue to expand its defense cooperation with China.

However, analysts and security officials said the relationship should be construed as part of an emerging “cold war” in Asia. “China and Pakistan have a relationship that isn’t based on any tactical consideration, or targeted against anybody,” said Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US. Officials in India and the US have frequently spoken of the need to strengthen their strategic co-operation as a counter to growing Chinese influence.