Lately Mr. Zardari has met various politicians including Chaudhry Shujaat, president of the Pakistan Muslim League and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi. Chaudhry family from Gujarat is a known political adversary of the Sharif family. If Mr. Zardari is aiming at forming a coalition of the political parties to browbeat the PMNL, then such an alliance may not prove to be effective. Perhaps he is aiming at defeating the PMNL in 2018 general elections which by all reckoning PMNL would win. On the face, PMNL and PPP should be natural allies as both have served Pakistan better than others.
It should be kept in mind that Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Zardari are both friendly with China. Mr. Zardari has massive business interests in China. Both Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari support CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor). Therefore, in the backdrop of CPEC, China may not encourage Zardari to dislodge Mian Nawaz Sharif by opposing him along with other political parties’ hostile to PMNL.
Personally, I admire Asif Ali Zardari for his inimitable political acumen and excellent administrative guts. To me he is a maverick who, despite innumerable hostilities and roadblocks on the political path, excelled marvelously both as the chairperson of the PPP and president of Pakistan. He also proved to be a true successor of late Benazir Bhutto in leading the PPP. During his five years’ stint as president, he proved himself to be a superb negotiator with disarming logic and conciliatory skills.
I would not dwell on his insatiable avarice for money and the alleged questionable techniques and dubious tactics employed to gain and accumulate mammoth wealth. Tell me one politician in Pakistan who didn’t exploit his powers and exalted position and remained clean of the corruption, misuse of power in gaining wealth. I would also not delve in the unproven allegations that he is responsible for the murders of his spouse and prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and his brother in law Mir Murtaza Bhutto.
Instead of hanging on to power on one pretext or the other, he established the democratic tradition by relinquishing the charge of the presidency to his PMNL successor President-elect Mamnoon Hussain. That decision, in fact, fortified the cult of democratic culture which otherwise has been ignored by several other prime ministers, the presidents and heads of political parties.
Asif Ali Zardari adopted the policy of reconciliation and made far reaching decision through consensus and broader understanding among the political forces. During his presidency, he shunned the cult of confrontation with the judiciary and military leadership. Finally, he was the first head of state who gave the much sought after identity to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.