Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari is the husband of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who was twice elected Prime  Minister of Pakistan.

a. Born on 21 July 1956 at Nawabshah, Sindh 

b . Educational Qualification
i. 1972 Graduation from Cadet College Petaro, Dadu

c. Business:
i. Director of M/s Zardari Group (Pvt.) Ltd.

d. Social Status
i. Member National Assembly 1990-93
ii. Member National Assembly 1993-96
iii. Federal Minister 1993
iv. Federal Minister 1995-96
v. Senator 1997 - 1999

PPP Co-Chairman Senator Asif Ali Zardari is a prominent Baloch family from Sindh. He is the son of veteran politician Mr. Hakim Ali Zardari. On his maternal side he is the great-grandson of Khan Bahadur Hassan Ali Effendi, the founder of the first educational institution for Muslims in Sindh. The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was among the prominent students to graduate from the Sindh Madrasa.

Mr. Zardari received his primary education at the Karachi Grammar School and his secondary education at Cadet College Petaro. He pursued his further education in London where he studied Business.

He was married to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in 1987 and was widowed on December 27, 2007 when Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi. Ms Bhutto was PPP Chairperson from 1979 until her assassination and was twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. They have three children, Bilawal, born in 1988, Bakhtawar, born in 1990 and Aseefa, born in 1993.

Mr. Zardari served as a Member of the National Assembly twice (1990-93 and 1993-96), as Federal Minister for the Environment (1993-1996) and as Federal Minister for Investment (1995-96). He was the principal architect of the Benazir Bhutto government's efforts to transform Pakistan's energy power sector by encouraging major investment opportunities in power generation. He was also the initiator of the Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline project.

Mr. Zardari was elected Senator in 1997 and served in that capacity until the dissolution of the Senate following the military coup of 1999. He was elected Co-Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party in January 2008 following the assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Mr. Zardari's political career spans two decades spent working closely with Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. During this period he helped formulate policies that expanded the freedom of the media, revolutionized telecommunications and opened Pakistan for foreign direct investment. During Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's first term in office CNN and BBC were allowed broadcasting rights in Pakistan and mobile telephone services introduced at Mr. Zardari's initiative. During her second term in office, in addition to the independent power producers (IPPs) being allowed in, Mr. Zardari encouraged the introduction of FM radio in the private sector.

Mr Zardari was targeted by anti-democratic forces for vilification and persecution and bore the hardship with fortitude. He spent eleven and a half years in prison in conditions often unacceptable by human rights standards, without any charge ever being proven against him. He won election as MNA and as senator while in prison. Despite many offers from the government of the time to leave Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) or to go abroad under a negotiated political exit, he remained committed to Party goals and continued his fight for justice and the return of a democratically elected civilian leadership.

Mr. Zardari was asked by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Pakistan Peoples Party to serve as Chairman of the Party after the assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Although he was elected unopposed, he nominated his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for that role and instead accepted the job of Co-Chairman of the PPP. After Ms. Bhutto's death he has remained in the frontlines of shaping a national consensus at the federal level on the politics of reconciliation initiated by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Under Mr. Zardari's leadership of the Party, the PPP's candidate for Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan unopposed. This was a singular and unprecedented event in Pakistan's political history.

Asif Ali Zardari was arrested on the night of 4th November 1996 from Lahore (Province of Punjab), upon dissolution of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's government by Presidential order. He was held incommunicado for two days and on Habeous Corpus petition filed before Lahore High Court, the then regime disclosed he was detained under Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1961 for a period of thirty days.

However, before the hearing of the petition could take place, the government withdrew the detention order and Asif Ali Zardari was shifted to Karachi (Province of Sindh) on 27-11-96. On arrival he was detained/arrested under fresh detention order passed under Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1961. The said fresh detention order was challenged before the Sindh High Court, Karachi, on 7th December 1996 which set aside the said order as being malafide and illegal and ordered for his release on 18th December, 1996.

During this period, policemen present during the shooting of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and other officers were arrested and tortured to implicate Senator Zardari. Army personnel were involved in their interrogation contrary to law. Three investigative officers were replaced and two sub divisional magistrates changed when they refused to record statements violative of the law in the matter.

Army officials took the magistrates to the detention centers to record the statement, an illegal act as the case being criminal in nature fell out of army purview.

Pursuant to the order of the Sindh High Court Senator Zardari was released on 18th December 1996. He was re-arrested in Mir Murtaza Bhutto Murder case the moment he stepped out of the prison on 18th December, 1996.

Senator Zardari, after re-arrest, was shifted to Women's police station Karachi for one week. Here he was tortured through sleep deprivation for several days and made to stand for hours with a bright light shining into his eyes whilst he was interrogated. This damaged his eye sight as he had had an eye surgery six weeks earlier aside from the physical discomfort and mental disorientation.

At the Women's police station, Senator Zardari was interrogated by army personnel in contravention of the law. He was pressured to wrongly confess to his brother-in-law's murder which he refused proclaiming his innocence.

He was remanded to prison when the Magistrate refused to grant further police remand.

Since the dismissal of the PPP government, the army backed regimes made numerous false and concocted cases against Senator Zardari with malafide intentions and ulterior motives. It was feared that they wished to judicially murder Senator Zardari as some of these cases carried the death sentence.

Simultaneously, scores of bankers, businessmen, bureaucrats, family and personal staff were arrested, tortured and offered inducements to give perjured statements or face financial and personal ruin.

This is the Eighth year that Senator Zardari is being held as an under-trial prisoner. During 1990 and 1991, he was held for three years behind bars. Not one of those charges, where the Senator pleaded innocent, was substantiated.

One conviction was obtained by the trial court in the Pre-Shipment matter in April 1999. That conviction was set aside by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in April 2001 which accepted the prayer that the trial court was biased.

Rashid Ghaznavi

Rashid Ghaznavi
Vice President PPP - USA.
created this website, and has provided his adult life to the benefit of the party... (more)

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