With Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari knew that he would be marrying himself in to the world of Pakistan Politics. What he did not know is that he would eventually become Pakistan's most feared, most corrupt and the most hated political leader. He would also become Pakistan's most powerful leader since Pakistan's Founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. What makes Asif Zardari so powerful and why the international community should be concerned?
Asif Zardari is more powerful than President Musharraf because Asif Zardari rules under the name of "Democracy." In the past, President Zardari has always lust for more and more power. He is now the most powerful leader that Pakistan has had since 1972 when Benazir Bhutto's Father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was President, but one can go as far back as Quaid-E-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Here are 13 points on what makes Zardari the most powerful leader of Pakistan?
1. Asif Zardari is the Co-Chairman of Pakistan's People Party. Pakistan's Peoples Party is the strongest political party in Pakistan with major influence in all provinces of Pakistan.
2. Asif Zardari is the widower of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Benazir Bhutto was well connected with world leaders and she did not let her exile stop her from campaigning for Democracy in Pakistan around the world, even on behalf of her own political party.
3. It is common knowledge that many believe that Asif Zardari, known as Mr. Ten Percent, has assets in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a billion. When you are a political party leader with that much financial power, you will have many "Yes, Sir" people around you, willing to do what you say or command.
4. Asif Zardari is so powerful that Zardari has been alleged in the murder of Murtaza Bhutto, Benazir's Brother who was considered a threat to Benazir's power.
5. Asif Zardari is not only the President of Pakistan, but he also controls the office of Prime Minister, and is the leader of the ruling coalition. The PPP, the political party he is the leader of, controls the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, home to Pakistan's Financial Capital, Karachi.
6. Asif Zardari also has the endorsement of MQM, Karachi's main political party and the endorsement of ANP, the NWFP based political party.
7. Asif Zardari has been able to get the second most powerful political party, PML-N to agree with the PPP on the PPP's stance. If PML-N decides not to, then they can be replaced by the PPP.
8. Asif Zardari can lead however he wants, under the name of Democracy. He has proven that by PPP's unanimous support. Therefore, other nations may leave him alone while they usually add pressure to dictators. Asif Zardari is also Pro-American, giving him the key country he needs with some Aid backing.
9. The public gave a mandate for the restoration of the judiciary and PPP won on the issue of the Judges. Yet PPP has done nothing in regards to the restoration of the judiciary nor has attempted to do anything aside from all talk and contracts that were nullified. This is a violation of the agreement made by the PPP and the PML-N.
10. Aitzaz Ahsan, even though an old time PPP strongman and present Chairman of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has no say in regards to PPP's affair. Amin Fahim's say in the PPP is also not important to Asif Zardari.
11. Asif Zardari has been in jail for over a decade. Despite Zardari's corruption charges, and charges against him in U.K and Switzerland, each case has been dismissed. He must be the World's Luckiest Man Alive. You can not have cases dismissed against you unless you have some power.
12. Asif Zardari is even stronger than President Musharraf. President Musharraf may have been a strong leader but he had the military who made him accountable. Asif Zardari is even stronger than President Musharraf due to the fact that he is a democratically elected leader. However, when you are democratically elected in a society where the apathy of the citizens dominates the political institutions, no one has the courage to make you accountable when you have your own guns.
13. Most important point, for the first time in a long time, Asif Zardari has been able to do in a minute that Pakistani Leaders have not been able to do in a decade, unite the people of Pakistan. That's Right! Pakistanis Are United! Considering the fact that over 50% of the population is under the age of 28, the majority of Pakistanis have never seen this much unity at all. No, Pakistanis are not United for Zardari, but United against Zardari. This is what brings many Pro-Musharraf and Anti-Musharraf people together. We all have our debates, but we have a common ground on Asif Zardari.
The Thirteenth Point is the Most Critical Point. The American incursions in to Pakistan is Asif Zardari's biggest threat. Although the President Bush Administration is supportive of President Zardari, it's their actions in the War on Terror that could lead to President Zardari's downfall.
But the United States must be cautious, because President Zardari is Pro-American and any attempts to remove him from office will affect the United States. They must start supporting other leaders like Imran Khan, the Lawyers Movement and political parties such as the ANP to gain respect of the people of Pakistan.
Events in the United States such as the 2008 President Elections will determine how long President Zardari will govern. If John McCain wins, Asif Zardari's term has been secured, if Barack Obama wins, Asif Zardari's future as President may not be long. The U.S. Elections will not only determine U.S. strategy in the War on Terror, but it will also determine the length of President Zardari's Presidency. Any action in to Pakistan by the United States will only fuel Zardari's removal. That will be a blessing in disguise for those who want Asif Zardari removed.
Munzir Naqvi graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Kennesaw State University.
He serves as an advisor to the Pakistan Israel Peace Forum (PIPF) & Pakistan The Next Five Years. Mr. Naqvi has served as President of Student Government at Kennesaw State University in 2004-2005.
Naqvi is interested in developing countries and economic policies. He is an advocate of Free Trade in a Free World. His Motto is Diplomacy before Dialogue. You can follow him at www.twitter.com/naqvi and Join the Facebook Group: Pakistan The Next Five Years
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