Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Rise Fall and Rise of a Ten Percenter

             When he was languishing in the jails for years together, he never thought he would see the broad daylight with dignity any day soon. But daylight he did see and in such a grandeur that everyone would be envy of and the event register in history as a remarkable turnaround in the destiny of a man named Asif Ali Zardari.
            The young Zardari was comfortable in the shadow of his charismatic wife the late Benazir Bhutto and had no inhibitions in being identified as the same. The husband was then made the minister and thus got born the man who was called as Mr. 10 percent. The 10 percent being his alleged share of any government deal that occurred. Zardari is claimed to have bungled tens of millions of dollars of the state fund and was thus arrested on corruption charges so severe that he would have spent his entire life in the jails of karachi.
           There had already occurred a freeze in the relations of Zardari and Benazir and they both maintained separate lives since many years. The thaw in relations was brought about until recently when efforts were taken by America to reinstate a democratic government in Pakistan after having realized the inaction and thus the dispensability of Musharraf. Benazir was propelled by America and was slated to trike a consensus with the dictator. But that was not to happen. The emergence of Nawaz Sharif didnt work well with both the establishments of Musharraf or the plans of Bhutto.
           Pakistan was heading for a political crisis in the form of a hung parliament and with prospects of better bargaining position of Musharraf when the unfortunate yet defining assasination of Benazir Bhutto occurred. Thus emerged the man whom almost everyone had forgotten. The event brought to the forefront Mr. ten percent as the political heir with son Bilawal a know-nothing youngster. With Zardari at the forefront, riding on a massive sympathy wave and an equally strong clout of Sharif, especially in the Punjab province, both parties together gained the necessary numbers to bring sleepless nights to Musharraf.
            However the unlikely marriage was bound to get sour over issues of reinstatement of sacked judges and impeachment of Musharraf. Sharif has been threatening to pull out on the judges issue ever since Zardari failed to provide committment on that. However Pervez Musharraf's resignation created a void which catapulted the most likely yet the most unlikely of candidates Asif Ali Zardari to the powerful post of President of Pakistan. from being a sidekick of influential wife to being called the Mr. 10 percent to serving years of jail term, this has been a remarkable rise of a man who had fallen to depths of darkness.
            Zardari may be the man America would like to have at helm of affairs in Pakistan but such might not be the case with the Pakistan Army and the hardliners. The public too percieves him as a suit wearing foriegner who has amassed millions of dollars of state funds. It will be interesting to see how he manages with the resposibility of being the President of one of the most dangerous places on earth now, balancing the US and the fundamentalists on one hand, engaging the eastern neighbor, India on another, civil wars on another, terrorism on another, turbulent economy on another and so on. Guess quite too much to achieve Mr. Ten Percent. Sorry, correction, Mr. President.

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