Asif Ali Zardari
11th President of Pakistan
Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th President of Pakistan. He is co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister. A Sindhi from a landowning tribe of Baloch origin, Zardari rose to prominence after his marriage to Bhutto in 1987. Between 1993 and 1996, he held various cabinet positions in the second Bhutto administration.
Asif Ali Zardari's personal information overview.
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Letter: ‘Frayed’ Relations Between the U.S. and Pakistan
NYTimes - 9 months
Former President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan writes about the “sadly frayed” relationship between the United States and his country.
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NYTimes article
Pakistan: Change but no Change
Huffington Post - about 1 year
On January 2, 2016, terrorists attacked an Indian Air Force at Pathankot, in the northern Indian state of Punjab resulting in the deaths of seven soldiers and six terrorists. The next day terrorists attacked the Indian consulate in Mazar e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan. The Pathankot and Mazar e Sharif attacks demonstrate that the worldview of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment has not changed with respect to India as the existential threat and jihad as the lever of foreign policy. From New Delhi's perspective every step forward in India-Pakistan relations results, within a short period of time, with a stab in the back that harms relations between the two countries. In February 1999 Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee undertook his famous bus yatra, where he along with his top officials, crossed the border into Pakistan and signed the Lahore declaration with his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Within a few months the Kargil conflict occurred when the Pakistani ...
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Huffington Post article
Zardari spends Rs 50m to buy PPP's office building in Punjab
The Times of India - about 3 years
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has spent Rs 50 million from his own pocket to buy a house for the cash-strapped Punjab unit of the Pakistan People's Party.     
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The Times of India article
No more excuses for Taliban violence, Bhutto heir tells Pakistan's leaders
Guardian (UK) - about 3 years
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 25, says prime minister and Imran Khan letting down nation by not backing firm military action Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the youthful heir apparent to one of south Asia's most famous dynasties, has launched a scathing attack on his political opponents who he said must stop "making excuses" for Taliban violence. The 25-year-old son of the assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto said Nawaz Sharif, the country's current leader, and the opposition politician Imran Khan, were "letting down the people" by not backing firm military action against the Taliban. "Perhaps they are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome," Bhutto Zardari said, referring to cases of hostages who sympathise with or even assist their captors. "There is no reason why the national leaders, the so-called leaders, should not speak out against people who are murdering our citizens, murdering our armed forces and claiming responsibility." The remarks are likely to further burnish his reputation as b ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Pakistan ex-president in court on graft charges
The Times of India - about 3 years
Former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari appeared before an anti-corruption court on Thursday over multi-million-dollar graft allegations dating back to the 1990s.     
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The Times of India article
Look at the Mountains these young Pakistanis Climb
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Pakistan recently made history in its first smooth transition from one democratically elected leader - Asif Zardari of the Pakistan People's Party to another, Nawaz Sharif from the Pakistan Muslim League. Pakistan frequently dominates headline news with horrific stories on drone attacks, jihadi perpetrated violence, and intra-faith Sunni-Shia killings among fellow citizens. But something different and "electric" happened in my living room this week when fifteen young, Pakistani social entrepreneurs walked in to share their vision, idealism and passion for their country. They believe their youth can become catalysts and engines for change in a promising new Pakistan. They are ready for the challenges, hard work and creative interventions needed for a politically, economically and socially healthy Pakistan. Let me introduce you to a few of these innovators - even as they try to shape a new Pakistan. Raja Banaras from Pakistan Administered Kashmir, one of the social entrepreneurs en ...
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Huffington Post article
Pakistan govt says can't reopen graft cases against Zardari
The Times of India - over 3 years
The Pakistan government has informed the Supreme Court that it cannot reopen multi-million dollar graft cases against former President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland because the issue is "hopelessly time-barred".     
Article Link:
The Times of India article
Magnificent Delusions: Bilateral misdemeanours
The Express Tribune Blogs - over 3 years
KARACHI:  Two years ago, former president Asif Ali Zardari was brought a letter by US President Barack Obama that spelled out a ‘grand bargain’. The US had offered a long-term strategic partnership if Pakistan cooperated in defeating all militant groups that threatened the region’s and American security. But Islamabad was not ready, writes Husain Haqqani in his new book titled Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, to be released today (Tuesday). Zardari’s reply repeated old clichés about Afghanistan and the Indian threat, according to the author. National Security Adviser James Jones had received a 50-page thesis on Pakistan’s strategic interests, Haqqani recalls, which he had read while he was the country’s ambassador to the US. He believes Pakistan had ‘missed the opening for defining its partnership with the world’s sole superpower on more favourable terms than ever before’. Haqqani pa ...
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The Express Tribune Blogs article
Asif Ali Zardari Fast Facts
CNN - over 3 years
Article Link:
CNN article
Pakistan court reopens graft cases against ex-president Zardari
The Times of India - over 3 years
Pakistan's anti-graft court has reopened five corruption cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari dating back to the 1990s, officials said on Monday.     
Article Link:
The Times of India article
Indian and Pakistani PMs agree on need to stop Kashmir attacks
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif meet at New York hotel to discuss new spate of violence threatening decade-long ceasefire The prime ministers of India and Pakistan have agreed they need to stop the recent spate of attacks in the disputed Kashmir region in order for peace talks to advance. They also both accepted invitations to visit each other's countries, although no dates were set, a senior Indian official said. The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif met for just over an hour at a New York hotel on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in their first face-to-face meeting since Sharif was elected in May. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and relations between the nuclear rivals have been strained since the 2008 Mumbai attacks – blamed on Pakistan-based militants – that killed 164 people in India's commercial hub. This year, a renewed spate of violence has threatened a decade-long ceasefire on the Kashmir frontier. The Indian national s ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Weekly review: Positive triggers help KSE extend bullish trend
The Express Tribune Blogs - over 3 years
KARACHI:  The week turned out to be a positive one for the Karachi course as smooth progression of democracy induced a wave of optimism coupled by governance decisions made by the incumbent government over terrorism and privatisation drive. While uncertainty on the outcome of the monetary policy announcement, which was announced after the close of the week, slowed down gains, overall gains at the country’s biggest stock market continued upward momentum, climbing 1.8% over the previous with average volumes clocking in at 239 million shares, up 23% week-on-week. While foreign investment in the last two sessions witnessed an outflow of $5.6 million, on net-basis at the end of the week foreign investment was positive (net inflow) of $2 million, according to KASB Securities market review. In the week, democracy achieved a landmark with new president, Mamnoon Hussain taking over from Asif Ali Zardari, which spurred a wave of confidence in the market. ...
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The Express Tribune Blogs article
In Pakistan, new President Mamnoon Hussain takes office
LATimes - over 3 years
He replaces Asif Ali Zardari, the first democratically elected Pakistani president to complete his term. Major parties agree to hold talks with militants. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Mamnoon Hussain was sworn in Monday as Pakistan's new president, replacing Asif Ali Zardari, who becomes the nation's first democratically elected president to complete a full term.
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LATimes article
Mr Asif Ali Zardari, you have done it!
The Express Tribune Blogs - over 3 years
September 8, 2013 is a day for both history and headlines in Pakistan. A historically unprecedented and smooth transfer of presidential power has taken place in our constitutional and political history. There has been no coup d’état by a general, no declaration of emergency, no suspension, abrogation or subversion of the constitution and no declaration of a fifth martial law in the country. A democratically elected head of state has completed his full term and has vacated the office in line with the theory and practice of constitutional provisions. All the headlines emanating from former president Asif Ali Zardari’s completion ... Read Full Post
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The Express Tribune Blogs article
Zardari becomes first Pak president to complete 5-yr term
The Times of India - over 3 years
In a golden moment in Pakistan’s chequered 66-year political history, President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday stepped down and left the presidency after successfully completing his five-year term, paving the way for India-born Mamnoon Hussain to take over.     
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The Times of India article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Asif Ali Zardari
  • 2013
    Age 57
    Zardari completed his five-year term on 8 September 2013, becoming the first democratically-elected President in the 66-year-long history of Pakistan.
    More Details Hide Details He received a guard of honour while leaving the Aiwan-e-Sadr. He then attended a party worker gathering at his residence in Lahore. According to his party workers he will settle in Lahore and will take part in politics He is succeeded by Mamnoon Hussain.
    After the PPP was heavily defeated in the 2013 general election, Zardari became the country's first elected president to complete his constitutional term on 8 September 2013.
    More Details Hide Details The Zardari-led PPP continues to form the provincial government in Sindh.
    Following multiple bombings of Hazaras in Quetta in early 2013, Zardari dismissed his provincial government in Balochistan.
    More Details Hide Details Towards the end of his term, Zardari recorded abysmally low approval ratings, ranging from 11 to 14%.
  • 2012
    Age 56
    On 8 April 2012, President Zardari, along with his son Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, visited Dargah Sharif in Ajmer, India on a private visit.
    More Details Hide Details He also met with the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The government has had a longstanding conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistani regions bordering Afghanistan. Diplomatic relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai improved after Musharraf's departure and Zardari's rise to power. The Obama administration's AfPak policy, through AfPak envoy Richard Holbrooke, reflected the unified approach the United States took in dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • 2011
    Age 55
    His father Hakim Ali Zardari died in May 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Zardari decided not to assume leadership (tumandari) of the Zardari tribe and instead crowned Bilawal as the tribe's chieftain. His mental health has been a subject of controversy. He has repeatedly claimed he was tortured while in prison. He was diagnosed with dementia, major depressive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder from 2005 to 2007, which helped influence the verdict of one of his corruption trials. He now claims he is completely healthy, with only high blood pressure and diabetes. Zardari is said to have a belief in occult and superstitions. According to a report by the Dawn newspaper, "a black goat is slaughtered almost daily to ward off the 'evil eye' and protect President Zardari from 'black magic.' "It has been an old practice of Zardari to offer Sadaqah (charity) of animal sacrifice and distribute meat to the poor. He has been doing this for a long time," the newspaper quoted the Pakistan president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar as saying.
    Pakistani news media, including the nation's largest Urdu newspaper (from the Jang Group), reported that Zardari had married Tanveer Zamani in January 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Zardari and Zamani denied the rumours. Zardari threatened legal action against the Jang Group.
    In early December 2011 Zardari flew to Dubai undergoing medical tests and treatment, reportedly for a "small stroke".
    More Details Hide Details According to the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Zardari sought medical treatment outside of Pakistan because of "threats to his life". He finds himself currently in the midst of the "Memogate" controversy. Zardari left the hospital on 14 December to recuperate at the Persian Gulf, while his son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, assumed a more prominent role in Pakistan. By 19 December, Zardari had returned to Pakistan. Zardari and Benazir Bhutto had one son and two daughters. His son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is the current Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party. His older daughter, Bakhtawar, was born on 25 January 1990, and his younger daughter, Asifa, was born on 2 February 1993. After Benazir Bhutto's death, his sister Faryal Talpur became the guardian of his children and he changed Bilawal Zardari's name to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He also has a second sister, Azra Peechoho.
    In March 2011, Zardari delivered his annual parliamentary address to a half-empty chamber because of an opposition walkout.
    More Details Hide Details In November 2012, the Pakistan government in response to the court orders, finally wrote to the Swiss authorities seeking to reopen the corruption cases against Zardari. The Swiss government responded by saying that the corruption cases being time barred cannot be reopened. The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July with rain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and soon submerged a fifth of Pakistan and afflicted 20 million people, resulting in one of the nation's largest natural catastrophes. Simultaneously, British Prime Minister David Cameron sparked a serious diplomatic row with Pakistan during his visit to India by stating that elements within Pakistan were promoting the "export of terror" a week before a planned visit by Zardari to Britain. Zardari ignored domestic pressure and began his European trip in Paris on 1 August, meeting French President Sarkozy. In France, he drew a rebuke from the U.S. after stating that NATO had "lost the battle for hearts and minds" in the Afghan war. As the flood's devastation became increasingly evident, he was widely criticised for flying in a helicopter to his Normandy chateau and dining at Cameron's Chequers countryside home. Protests within Britain, mainly among the British Pakistani community, grew against his visit. The widely expected maiden speech by his son Bilawal was cancelled, as Zardari faced criticism for using the trip to advance Bilawal's political aspirations.
    In early January 2011, Zardari signed the 19th Amendment, which lessened the likelihood of future clashes between the President and the judiciary by strengthening the power of the Chief Justice in deciding judicial appointments.
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    Zardari, who rarely left the Aiwan-e-Sadr presidential palace, responded with a nationwide spurt of speeches in January 2011.
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    Zardari went to the United States in January 2011 to attend Special Envoy Holbrooke's funeral.
    More Details Hide Details Following Osama bin Laden's death in a compound in Abbottabad in May 2011, Obama called Zardari and collaborated on the events.
    As president, Zardari remained a strong U.S. ally in the war in Afghanistan, despite prevalent public disapproval of the United States following the Raymond Davis incident and the Nato attack in Salala in 2011.
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  • 2010
    Age 54
    In late September 2010, the Supreme Court considered removing presidential immunity.
    More Details Hide Details In October, Chief Justice Chaudry met with his colleagues to discuss troubling media rumours that Zardari's government was planning to fire them; Chaudry requested government assurance that the stories were unfounded.
    In February 2010, Zardari sparked a standoff by attempting to appoint a Supreme Court candidate without the court's approval, but the confrontation ended after he backed down and nominated a candidate acceptable by the court. In April 2010, after months of political pressure, the government passed the 18th Amendment, which reduced the President to a ceremonial figurehead by stripping the office of the power to dissolve Parliament, to dismiss the Prime Minister, and to appoint military chiefs.
    More Details Hide Details The amendment also lifted the restriction of two terms as Prime Minister, which enabled Zardari's foremost political rival, Nawaz Sharif, to seek a third term. The amendment was passed with virtually unanimous support in Parliament and Zardari himself espoused the legislation because of political pressure. After the 18th Amendment, Zardari's main power derived from his position as leader of the PPP, which controls the largest bloc in Parliament.
    In January 2010, the Supreme Court ordered Pakistan's government to reopen Zardari's corruption charges in Switzerland.
    More Details Hide Details However, Zardari prevented the MQM-leaning Attorney General, Anwar Mansoor, from filing charges, so Mansoor resigned in protest in early April. That same month, Zardari won a key victory against the judiciary over his corruption trials when Geneva Attorney General Daniel Zappelli stated that Zardari can not be prosecuted under international laws because of his presidential immunity. Zardari was supported by Prime Minister Gilani, who defied the Supreme Court order.
    Zardari's tenure was also criticized for mishandling nationwide floods in 2010, and growing terrorist violence.
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    Domestically, Zardari achieved the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 2010, which constitutionally reduced his presidential powers. His attempt to prevent the reinstatement of Supreme Court judges failed in the face of massive protests led by his political rival Nawaz Sharif. The restored Supreme Court dismissed the PPP's elected Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani for contempt in 2012, after Gillani refused to write to the Government of Switzerland to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.
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  • 2009
    Age 53
    In June 2009, Zardari met Singh for the first time since the Mumbai attacks at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
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    In late November 2009, Zardari ceded to Prime Minister Gillani the chairmanship of the National Command Authority, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal oversight agency.
    More Details Hide Details In December 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that the National Reconciliation Ordinance amnesty was unconstitutional, which cleared the way for the revival of corruption cases against Zardari. Though Zardari had immunity from prosecution because he was President, the end of NRO and his earlier corruption cases challenged the legality of his presidency. Calls for his resignation escalated.
    In April 2009, President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation into law.
    More Details Hide Details The regulation formally established Sharia law in the Malakand division.
    Zardari's government gave in to popular pressure and Prime Minister Gilani in an early morning speech on 16 March 2009 promised to reinstate Chaudhry by 21 March.
    More Details Hide Details Ten judges were reinstated on 16 March, and Chaudry assumed his position on 22 March. Zardari's month-long direct control of the Punjab ended on 30 March.
    In February 2009, Zardari and the Musharraf-appointed Supreme Court attempted to disqualify Nawaz Sharif from running in any elections and tried to force his brother Shahbaz Sharif to resign as Chief Minister of Punjab province.
    More Details Hide Details Zardari dismissed the Punjab provincial government and only partially reinstated the judiciary by restoring 56 other judges deposed by Musharraf—but not their former leader, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. After Nawaz Sharif defied house arrest and rallied with thousands of his supporters, the Sharif brothers vowed to join forces with the Lawyers' Movement in the "Long March".
    In his first visit to Afghanistan as President in early January 2009, Zardari promised a renewed relationship to improve cooperation.
    More Details Hide Details In late March, Obama announced a civilian aid package of $7.5 billion over five years in return for cooperation in the AfPak conflict. In late April, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Zardari and promised $1 billion over the next four years. In May, Obama held a trilateral summit in Washington D.C with Karzai and Zardari, where they discussed further cooperation. At Brussels in mid-June, Zardari unsuccessfully sought trade concessions from the European Union; it instead pledged $90 million development aid to curtail tribal influence by insurgents. After the U.S. Congress passed Obama's civilian aid package in October, army generals in the Pakistani military establishment widened the growing rift with Zardari's government and openly criticised U.S. interference. In February 2009, FATA's provincial government officially declared Islamic law in Swat to achieve a ceasefire with the northwestern Pashtun tribes. Because the United States and Britain opposed the measure, Zardari did not sign the Swat ceasefire until mid-April, when domestic pressure from Parliament mounted. By the end of April, the agreement collapsed as the Pakistani military pursued an unpopular offensive in the neighbouring Dir district.
  • 2008
    Age 52
    He spearheaded a coalition that forced military ruler Pervez Musharraf to resign, and was elected President on 6 September 2008.
    More Details Hide Details He was acquitted of various criminal charges the same year.
    In mid-November 2008, he suggested Pakistan was ready for a no-first-use nuclear policy and called for closer economic ties. The relationship between the two nations was damaged by the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
    More Details Hide Details He initially denied any links between the perpetrators and Pakistan, but the government soon pursued military action against Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders in a 7 December raid. India cleared Zardari's government of any direct involvement in the attacks, but simultaneously demanded the extradition of 20 Pakistanis which it alleged had taken part in them. Zardari offered to send Inter-Services Intelligence Director-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha to assist in the investigation.
    In early October 2008, he received fierce domestic criticism for repeatedly calling Kashmiri nationalists (see Kashmir conflict) in India "terrorists".
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    In mid-November 2008, Zardari's government officially sent a letter of intent to the IMF regarding a bailout to help increase its foreign exchange reserves.
    More Details Hide Details In a $11.3 billion multi-year loan package, Pakistan received a $7.4 billion loan for 2008–10. The IMF stipulated stringent reform conditions, which included rebuilding the tax structure and privatising state enterprises. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank withheld a combined $3 billion aid in the 2010–11 fiscal year and the IMF withheld since May 2010 the last segment of its aid package. In January 2011, the MQM withdrew from the government. Zardari's ruling coalition averted a government collapse by accepting the opposition's economic proposals, which restored gas subsidies and abandoned many of the IMF's suggested reforms. In an effort to curb government expenditures, Zardari swore in an "austerity cabinet" in February 2011 which reduced the cabinet from 60 ministers to 22.
    From 14 to 17 October 2008, he was in China to negotiate foreign aid, as Pakistan faced the possibility of defaulting on its payments.
    More Details Hide Details China refused to offer any aid commitments, but instead promised to provide assistance in the development of two nuclear power plants and more future business investments. After Saudi Arabia, Britain, China, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates refused to provide any bailout, he officially asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in solving Pakistan's balance of payments problem on 22 October. He went to Saudi Arabia from 4 to 6 November in hopes of obtaining financial aid and securing trade agreements. However, leaked cables revealed increasingly strained relations between Zardari and Saudi royalty, primarily because of Saudi distrust of Zardari and preference for Sharif. Weaker cooperation led to decreased oil subsidies as part of a broader Saudi policy of withholding monetary assistance.
    He and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to resume peace talks by the end of 2008.
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    From 23 to 26 September 2008, he met with various foreign leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
    More Details Hide Details He suffered political embarrassment by flirting with U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and making tongue-in-cheek comments about her. Although, at the United Nations General Assembly, he publicly condemned U.S drone attacks in Pakistan, the Washington Post reported that he had signed a "secret deal" when he met with senior American officials that arranged for the coordination of Predator strikes and a jointly approved list of prominent targets.
    He was elected President on 6 September 2008. At the inauguration on 9 September 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a guest of honour, which was a signal for much closer cooperation between the two nations in addressing the tribal insurgency along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
    More Details Hide Details After the election, Zardari promised to approve the constitutional provision that removed the President's power to dismiss Parliament, but public scepticism remained on whether he would actually carry out his promise. His economic competence was questioned after allegations that he had raised grain procurement prices through inflationary subsidies and scrapped the capital gains tax. His first parliamentary speech was overshadowed by 20 September Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. A few days later, he went to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on his first overseas trip as President.
    He warned Musharraf against dismissing Parliament, and the coalition selected Gillani instead of Musharraf to represent Pakistan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details On 18 August, Musharraf resigned in order to avoid impeachment. Although Zardari favoured granting Musharraf immunity from prosecution, the coalition could not agree on a decision. The coalition also could not reach a united stance on the future of the judiciary. Presidential elections were held within three weeks after the departure of Musharraf. Zardari vowed to pursue an unpopular campaign against tribal militancy in Pakistan and had the support of the United States. He claimed he had a London business school degree to satisfy a prerequisite for the presidency, but his party did not produce a certificate. He was endorsed by the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for the presidency. The PML-N nominated former justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, while the PML-Q put forth Mushahid Hussain Sayed. Zardari won a majority in the Electoral College with 481 of 702 votes.
    In August 2008, Zardari relented, and the coalition agreed to proceed full speed towards Musharraf's impeachment by drafting a charge-sheet against him.
    More Details Hide Details The coalition charged him with high treason for the 1999 coup and the imposition of martial law.
    He and Sharif met in Lahore in June 2008 to discuss Musharraf's removal and the constitutional amendments, which the PML-N viewed as not going far enough to fulfill the Murree declaration.
    More Details Hide Details He opposed impeachment calls because he claimed the coalition did not have the two-thirds majority in both legislative bodies—National Assembly and Senate. He was unwilling to restore the judiciary as divisions in the coalition grew and popular sentiment shifted towards Sharif. The coalition criticised the government for barring Sharif from competing in the June by-elections. Because of the impasses over Musharraf and the judiciary, the coalition could not address rising food shortages and spiraling inflation, which was the highest in 30 years.
    He and Sharif agreed in a 9 March 2008 agreement, known as the Murree Declaration, to the reinstatement by 30 April 2008 of 60 judges previously sacked by Musharraf.
    More Details Hide Details The deadline was later extended to 12 May. He and Sharif held unsuccessful talks at London in May. After the coalition failed to restore the judiciary, the PML-N withdrew from the government in mid-May, pulling its ministers out of the cabinet. The coalition regrouped, again with the PML-N, and proposed a constitutional amendment that would remove the power of the President to dismiss Parliament. By late May, the coalition was set in a confrontation with Musharraf. At the same time, the government was successful in getting Pakistan readmitted to the Commonwealth.
    After weeks of speculation and party infighting, he said he did not want to become Prime Minister. In mid-March 2008, he chose Yousaf Raza Gillani for Prime Minister in a snub to the more politically powerful Makhdoom Amin Fahim.
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    He himself could not run for Parliament because he had not filed election papers in November 2008, back when he had no foreseeable political ambition while Bhutto was alive.
    More Details Hide Details The PPP and the PML-N won the largest and second largest number of seats respectively in the February elections. He and Sharif agreed to form a coalition government, ending American hopes of a power-sharing deal between him and Musharraf. They agreed to restore the judiciary, but Zardari took a less stringent stance than Sharif. He met with U.S. ambassador Anne W. Patterson, who pushed for a pact with Musharraf. To strengthen the new coalition, he reached out to Awami National Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, and Baloch nationalist leaders, who had all boycotted the elections.
    In January 2008, he suggested that if his party did win a majority, it might form a coalition with Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q).
    More Details Hide Details He and Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) party (PML-N), threatened national protests if any vote-rigging was attempted.
    He served as the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013.
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  • 2007
    Age 51
    On the night of 27 December 2007, he returned to Pakistan following his wife's assassination.
    More Details Hide Details Zardari prevented Bhutto's autopsy in accordance with Islamic principles. He and their children attended her funeral, which was held the next day. He denied government allegations that the assassination was sponsored by Al-Qaida. He called for an international inquiry into her death and stated that she would still be alive if Musharraf's government had provided adequate protection. He and his family offered to accept Musharraf's demand to exhume Bhutto's body in exchange for a United Nations inquiry, but Musharraf rejected the proposal. In Bhutto's political will, she had designated Zardari her successor as party leader. However, their nineteen-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, became Chairman of the PPP because Zardari favoured Bilawal to represent Bhutto's legacy, in part to avoid division within the party due to his own unpopularity. He did, however, serve as Co-Chairman of the PPP for at least three years until Bilawal completed his studies overseas.
    In the midst of his exile, Zardari had several different legal problems. In Pakistan, Musharraf granted him amnesty for his alleged offences through the National Reconciliation Ordinance, drafted in October 2007.
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    After the October 2007 bombing in Karachi that tainted Bhutto's return, he accused Pakistani intelligence services of being behind the attacks and claimed "it was not done by militants".
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  • 2005
    Age 49
    This left open the possibility of investigations into his alleged involvement in about $2 million in illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, discovered in October 2005, under the oil-for-food program.
    More Details Hide Details If the ordinance was rescinded, he would have had to deal with charges relating to evading duties on an armoured BMW, commissions from a Polish tractor manufacturer, and a kickback from a gold bullion dealer. In Switzerland, Bhutto and Zardari appealed the 2003 Swiss conviction, which required the reopening of the case in October 2007. In November 2007, Swiss authorities returned the frozen $60 million to him through offshore companies because of the National Reconciliation Ordinance. In Spain, a criminal investigation was opened over the money laundering for the oil-for-food program because of the illicit profits handled through Spanish firms. In Britain, he was fighting a civil case against the Pakistani government for the proceeds from the liquidation sale of a Surrey mansion. He successfully used his medical diagnosis to postpone a verdict on his British manor trial. In exile, he shifted between homes in New York, London, and Dubai, where his three children lived.
    In September 2005, he did not show up for a Rawalpindi hearing on corruption charges; the court issued an arrest warrant.
    More Details Hide Details His lawyers stated he could not come because he was recovering from his treatment. Following a request by the Rawalpindi court, Interpol issued a red notice in January 2006 against the couple which called on member nations to decide on the couple's extradition. When Bhutto announced in September 2007 her upcoming return to Pakistan, her husband was in New York City undergoing medical treatment.
    In June 2005, he suffered a heart attack and was treated in the United Arab Emirates.
    More Details Hide Details A PPP spokesman stated he underwent angioplasty in the United States.
    Zardari went back to Dubai in May 2005.
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    He returned to Lahore in April 2005.
    More Details Hide Details Police prevented him from holding rallies by escorting him from the airport to his home. He criticised Musharraf's government, but rumours of reconciliation between Musharraf and the PPP grew.
  • 2004
    Age 48
    He was released from jail in 2004 and went into self-exile to Dubai, but returned when Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007.
    More Details Hide Details As the new Co-Chairman of the PPP, he led his party to victory in the 2008 general elections.
    After his second release in late 2004, he left for exile in Dubai.
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    In November 2004, he was released on bail by court order.
    More Details Hide Details A month later, he was unexpectedly arrested for failing to show up for a hearing on a murder case in Islamabad. He was placed under house arrest in Karachi. A day later, he was released on $5,000 bail. His release, rearrest, and then release again was regarded as a sign of growing reconciliation between Musharraf's government and the PPP.
  • 2003
    Age 47
    In August 2003, a Swiss judge convicted Bhutto and Zardari of money laundering and sentenced them to six months imprisonment and a fine of $50,000.
    More Details Hide Details In addition, they were required to return $11 million to the Pakistani government. The conviction involved charges relating to kickbacks from two Swiss firms in exchange for customs fraud. In France, Poland, and Switzerland, the couple faced additional allegations.
  • 1999
    Age 43
    Bhutto called for the removal of the chief investigator of the attacks because she claimed he had been involved in Zardari's alleged torture in prison in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details In November 2007, Musharraf instituted emergency rule for six weeks (see Pakistani state of emergency, 2007), under the pretext of rising Islamist militancy, a few days after Bhutto's departure for Dubai to meet with Zardari. Immediately after the state of emergency was invoked, Bhutto returned to Pakistan, while Zardari again stayed behind in Dubai. Emergency rule was initiated right before the Supreme Court of Pakistan began deliberations on the legality of Musharraf's U.S.-backed proposal—the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)—to drop corruption charges against Bhutto and Zardari in return for a joint Bhutto-Musharraf coalition to govern Pakistan. Bhutto and Zardari sympathised with Musharraf on his feud with the Supreme Court, but simultaneously criticised the imposition of martial law. Before the Supreme Court could issue a decision, Musharraf replaced its members with his supporters.
    In May 1999, he was hospitalised after an alleged attempted suicide.
    More Details Hide Details He claimed it was a murder attempt by the police.
    In April 1999, Bhutto and Zardari were convicted for receiving indemnities from a Swiss goods inspection company that was hired to end corruption in the collection of customs duties.
    More Details Hide Details The couple received a fine of $8.6 million. Both were also sentenced to five years imprisonment, but Bhutto could not be extradited back to Pakistan from her self-imposed exile. Zardari was already in jail awaiting trial on separate charges. The evidence used against them had been gathered by Swiss investigators and the Pakistani Bureau of Accountability.
  • 1998
    Age 42
    In July 1998, he was indicted for corruption in Pakistan after the Swiss government handed over documents to Pakistani authorities relating to money laundering.
    More Details Hide Details The Swiss had also indicted him for money laundering. At the same time, in a separate case, he and 18 others were indicted for conspiracy to murder Murtaza Bhutto. After criminal prosecutions began, Citibank closed Zardari's account.
  • 1997
    Age 41
    In December 1997, he was flown to Islamabad under tight security to take his oath.
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    In March 1997, Zardari was elected to the Senate while in a Karachi jail.
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  • 1996
    Age 40
    Following increasing tensions between Bhutto's brother Murtaza and Zardari, Murtaza was killed in a police encounter in Karachi on 20 September 1996.
    More Details Hide Details Bhutto's government was dismissed a month later by President Farooq Leghari, while Zardari was arrested and indicted for Murtaza's murder as well as corruption charges.
  • 1995
    Age 39
    In March 1995, he was appointed chairman of the new Environment Protection Council.
    More Details Hide Details During the beginning of the second Bhutto Administration, a Bhutto family feud between Benazir and her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, surfaced over the political future of Murtaza Bhutto, Nusrat's son and Benazir's younger brother. Benazir thanked Zardari for his support. In September 1996, Murtaza and seven others died in a shootout with police in Karachi, while the city was undergoing a three-year civil war. At Murtaza's funeral, Nusrat accused Benazir and Zardari of being responsible and vowed to pursue prosecution. Ghinwa Bhutto, Murtaza's widow, also accused Zardari of being behind his killing. President Farooq Leghari, who would dismiss the Bhutto government seven weeks after Murtaza's death, also suspected Benazir and Zardari's involvement. Several of Pakistan's leading newspapers alleged that Zardari wanted his brother-in-law out of the way because of Murtaza's activities as head of a breakaway faction of the PPP.
  • 1994
    Age 38
    In April 1994, Zardari denied allegations that he was wielding unregulated influence as a spouse and acting as "de-facto Prime Minister".
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    In February 1994, Benazir sent Zardari to meet with Saddam Hussein in Iraq to deliver medicine in exchange for three detained Pakistanis arrested on the ambiguous Kuwait-Iraq border.
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  • 1993
    Age 37
    In April 1993, he became one of the 18 cabinet ministers in the caretaker government that succeeded Nawaz Sharif's first abridged premiership.
    More Details Hide Details The caretaker government lasted until the July elections. After Bhutto's election, he served as her Investment Minister, chief of the intelligence bureau, and the head of the Federal Investigation Agency.
    When Bhutto was reelected in 1993, Zardari served as Federal Investment Minister and Chairperson Pakistan Environmental Protection Council in her second administration.
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  • 1991
    Age 35
    On March 25, 1991, the hijackers aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 117 demanded Zardari's release among other demands.
    More Details Hide Details The hijackers were killed by Singapore Commandos.
  • 1990
    Age 34
    In the October 1990 elections, he was elected to the National Assembly while in jail.
    More Details Hide Details Bhutto and the PPP staged a walkout from the inaugural session of the National Assembly to protest Zardari's incarceration. He posted $20,000 bail, but his release was blocked by a government ordinance that removed a court's power to release suspects being tried in the terrorist court, which fast-track trials for alleged terrorists. The ordinance was later revoked and a special court acquitted him of bank fraud and conspiracy to murder political opponents. He was freed in February 1993. In March 1994, Zardari was acquitted of bank fraud charges. All other corruption charges relating to Bhutto's first term were dropped or thrown out of the courts.
    He was arrested on 10 October 1990 on charges relating to kidnapping and extortion.
    More Details Hide Details The charges alleged an extortion scheme that involved tying a supposed bomb to a British businessman's leg. The Bhutto family considered the indictment politically motivated and fabricated.
    After the dismissal of Bhutto's government in August 1990, Benazir Bhutto and Zardari were prohibited from leaving the country by security forces under the direction of the Pakistan Army.
    More Details Hide Details During the interim government between August and October, caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, a Bhutto rival, initiated investigations of corruption by the Bhutto administration. Jatoi accused Zardari of using his wife's political position to charge a ten percent commission for obtaining permission to set up any project or to receive loans. He was tagged with the nickname "Mr. Ten Percent".
    Although incarcerated, he nominally served in Parliament after being elected to the National Assembly in 1990 and Senate in 1997.
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    When Bhutto's government was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990, Zardari was widely criticized for involvement in corruption scandals that led to its collapse.
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  • 1987
    Age 31
    He married Benazir Bhutto on 18 December 1987.
    More Details Hide Details The arranged marriage, done in accordance with Pakistani culture, was initially considered an unlikely match. The lavish sunset ceremony in Karachi was followed by immense night celebrations that included over 100,000 people. The marriage enhanced Bhutto's political position in a country where older unmarried women are frowned upon. Zardari deferred to his wife's wishes by agreeing to stay out of politics. In 1988, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash. A few months later, Bhutto became Pakistan's first female Prime Minister when her party won 94 of 207 seats contested in the 1988 elections. He generally stayed out of his wife's first administration, but he and his associates became entangled in corruption cases linked to the government. He was largely blamed for the collapse of the Bhutto administration.
    A landowner from Sindh, Zardari rose to prominence after his marriage to Benazir Bhutto in 1987, becoming the First Gentleman after his wife was elected Prime Minister in 1988.
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  • 1983
    Age 27
    Zardari's initial political career was unsuccessful. In 1983, he lost an election for a district council seat in Nawabshah, a city of Sindh, where his family owned thousands of acres of farmland.
    More Details Hide Details He then went into real estate.
  • 1973
    Age 17
    He went to St Patrick's High School, Karachi from 1973–74; a school clerk says he failed his final examination there.
    More Details Hide Details In March 2008, he claimed he had graduated from the London School of Business Studies with a bachelor of education degree in the early 1970s. Zardari's official biography states he also attended Pedinton School in Britain. His British education, however, has not been confirmed, and a search did not turn up any Pedinton School in London. The issue of his diploma was contentious because a 2002 rule required candidates for Parliament to hold a college degree, but the rule was overturned by Pakistan's Supreme Court in April 2008.
  • 1972
    Age 16
    His official biography says he graduated from Cadet College, Petaro in 1972.
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  • 1955
    Zardari was born on 26 July 1955 in Karachi, Sindh in the Zardari family.
    More Details Hide Details He is a Sindhi of Baloch origin, belonging to a Jat clan of the Sindhi-Baloch Zardari tribe. He is the only son of Hakim Ali Zardari, a tribal chief and prominent landowner, and Zarrin Zardari. In his youth, he enjoyed polo and boxing. He led a polo team known as the Zardari Four. His father owned Bambino—a famous cinema in Karachi—and donated movie equipment to his school. He also appeared in a movie, Salgirah, as a child artist. Zardari's academic background remains a question mark. He received his primary education from Karachi Grammar School.
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