Short Biography of Asif Ali Zardari
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is the current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). He is also the widower of Former Prime Minister and Chairman of PPP, Benazir Bhutto.
In 1955, Mr. Zardari was born in the Zardari family in the largest city of the country, Karachi. His father Hakim Ali Zardari was a Feudal Lord and politician. Zardari acquired his primary education from Karachi Grammar School and secondary education from Saint Patricks High School. He claims to have done his business diploma from London School of Business Studies, however his British education is in question as proof of it could not be found in the British records. Mr. Zardari found his life partner in Benazir Bhutto and got married to her in 1987.
He also became widely known as “Mr. 10 percent” for acting as an intermediary for closing government deals and keeping his commission. His political career has been blemished by corruption allegations for which he has spent a quarter of his life in imprisonment. He was imprisoned from 1990-1993 after which he was released with the Bhutto administration coming into power. From 1993-1996, he served in several positions in the Cabinet and also got involved in a dispute with the Bhutto family over the future leadership of PPP. He is also believed to be behind the death of Murtaza Bhutto. Following further corruption charges and the fall of the Bhutto government, Zardari was imprisoned again and this time for a longer period of time from 1996-2004.
In the year 2004 he was released from jail along with his friends in the course of reconciliations between PPP and President Pervez Musharraf. Immediately after being released he went into self exile in Dubai, not for long as he had to return back in December 2007 when his wife Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. According to Benazir’s will, Mr. Zardari was appointed as Co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The 2008 elections turned his fate from living a painful life alone in exile to leading his party to win the elections. He formed a coalition which forced Pervez Musharaff to resign and after Musharaff’s resignation he was elected as the new President of Pakistan. There are many conspiracy theories according to which Mr Zardari is believed to be behind Benazir’s assassination as he was the only person who benefited most from his wife’s death; however, there is no evidence to back these theories.
As President of the country Mr Zardari just like his former, has been a strong ally of the U.S in the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. Although he has faced severe criticism by the public for continuing on the footsteps of Pervez Musharaff, he believes it is necessary to ally with the U.S for Pakistan’s continued existence. The 18th Amendment in 2010 cut off his powers to a large extent such that it left him only to be an apparent head of the country.
Mr Zardari has become rather unpopular in the masses for the increasing economic problems in the country and his alleged involvement in the memogate scandal.