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Asif Ali Zardari, the current co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former President of Pakistan (2008-2013), has a multifaceted political story woven with both triumphs and controversies. Born in 1955 into a well-known family in Nawabshah, Sindh, Asif Zardari’s political ascent began in earnest after his marriage to Benazir Bhutto in 1987, marking the start of a trajectory that would shape the course of Pakistani politics.

Initially, Zardari faced challenges in his political journey, but fortunes shifted following his association with Benazir. Serving as a federal minister in both of her governments, first overseeing the environment portfolio and later managing investments, Zardari demonstrated political acumen.

His early years were marred by allegations, notably in 1990. Although charges were never proven, Zardari spent three years in prison. Subsequently, in 1996, following the dismissal of Benazir’s second government; he faced further legal challenges, including charges related to the murder of his brother-in-law, Murtaza Bhutto. Imprisoned for eight years, Zardari’s release in 2004 marked the beginning of a period of legal battles, culminating in his acquittal in 2008.

Assuming the presidency in 2008 after Benazir’s tragic assassination, Zardari navigated a tumultuous period marked by economic challenges, security issues, and tensions. His presidency witnessed significant policy initiatives, including the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and the Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package. Notably, the approval of the 18th Amendment that also curtailed the president’s power to dissolve Parliament, signifying a commitment to constitutional reforms.

Despite accomplishments, Zardari’s term was not without controversy. Persistent allegations of corruption continued to shadow him. However, his political sagacity became evident when he completed his constitutional term in 2013, becoming the first government to peacefully transfer power to another democratically elected leader.

In recent years, Zardari faced legal challenges, including the Thatta Water Supply and Park Lane references, leading to a six-month incarceration before being granted bail on medical grounds in 2019.

Despite maintaining a low profile during the pandemic due to health issues, he re-emerged as a formidable political force within the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and played a pivotal role in the no-confidence vote that led to the ousting of Imran Khan’s government in April 2022.

Asif Zardari’s influence within the PPP remains strong, with his shrewd political maneuvering allowing the party to maintain relevance in the national political landscape. As the PPP’s nominee for president in the upcoming polls, Zardari continues to play a pivotal role in shaping Pakistan’s political future, emphasising the enduring legacy of the Bhutto-Zardari dynasty.

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KU Feb 05, 2024 05:26pm
Indeed he is a navigation expert, a party which has Sin'd for many decades but always gets away with it.
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