Partners in crime | Pakistan Today

Partners in crime

  • It pays, or does it?

In recent public gatherings, Zardari’s desperation and language about money laundering and corruption cases against him basically confirmed his involvement. As for Zardari’s absurd irrational remark that he or his aides were not consulted before NAB charged him with money laundering, he must have forgotten that he is no more president of this ill-fated country, so doesn’t have immunity anymore. He claimed that Omni group owners are his friends, but it doesn’t mean he has any interest in their business or he helped them build their empire. The facts speak all the way against his statement.

“I had very little opportunity to look at the charges,” Zardari claimed. He further added, “if I open or operate accounts, why and who can challenge, it’s my own will to open or control accounts.” Then he very sarcastically said, “Yet it is to be proved, did I open the account? I can fight it legally.” Obviously, it has brought down a greater deal of thunder on Asif Ali Zardari. He knows, legally, he won’t be able to prove. At the same time he knows our judicial system. Its slow proceedings and flaws in the law. But, he once again forgot that judges are no more a purchasable commodity. They have started delivering though they keep a lacuna to benefit the accused, deliberately or unintentionally, which can’t be determined.

“When I first took over”, he mentioned “I managed to get-rid of dictator Musharaf.” But people think he was confused. Who was Zardari to push Musharaf out? Musharaf himself wanted a safe passage because of public pressure for which he initiated NRO enabling Benazir to return and hold the office. The notorious NROs basically were for Asif Ali Zardari and his corruption during Benazir’s two tenures as the PM. It was a mammoth decision to make and frankly there was no justification at all for a lot of reasons, but Musharaf thought perhaps it would be helpful to bail him out of the pressure he was facing. He was thinking it the other-way around, according to his thought process, planning was to replace Shaukat Aziz with Benazir as the prime minister and he himself to remain as the president for the next five years. All went wrong. Tout a mal tourne.

Zardari should never forget that had Benazir been alive he would simply have been a nobody, he still is a nobody if Benazir’s name is not standing behind him and his children. He had no place in Pakistan’s politics, just Mr Ten Percent or corrupt husband of an honest and patriotic lady. Her untimely death, rather murder, made Zardari’s way to the throne and he grabbed the highest office of this ill-fated country. Her murder was never traced even him holding the highest office of this country for five years. Perhaps he never wanted it.

On the other side Shahbaz Sharif has started defending those serving Zardari as personal slaves to divert the right information according to his hostile aspiration, even if it might be disregarded. Saad Rafiq came up with a new logic in this story of corruption, that NAB just wants to make a decision based on “no knowledge” and ignorance.

People used to think Zardari was more diplomatic than Nawaz Sharif, but his statements that Imran is undisciplined, doesn’t have the ability to run the government, is trying to impose the law dictatorially or following the instructions of a third force, proves he is as ill-advised as Nawaz

They may not agree with the investigation by JIT or decision by NAB courts, but at least they are fully informed of the impact. And out of fear they are stating imprudently.

This is pretty much the opposite of a ringing endorsement; Shahbaz had been using every possible abusive and insulting word he could against Zardari. Now suddenly he has stepped in as a helper to rescue Zardari. Shahbaz is very smart but at the same time not trustworthy. He had distanced himself from the bombarded operation of Nawaz and Maryam’s special “abusing brigade” blaming the garrison’s senior personnel and the JIT while also blaming superior judiciary of illegal practice and favouring the establishment that resulted in the fall of Nawaz Sharif’s government.

Shahbaz could force his brother to avoid the path of confrontation, but he was trying to pave a way for his son Hamza. Zardari should get ready for any shocking step from Shahbaz, which may hurt the former gravely.

It wasn’t clear whether Zardari meant to favour Nawaz or he was just trying to put pressure on the government that the policy itself was bad, or that it was just poorly and hastily implemented. It’s worth noting that Nawaz himself drafted NAB and such policies in his first tenure which initiated cases against Zardari in 1991. Now emphasizing that he hoped it would only be temporary is a highly irresponsible statement.

People used to think Zardari was more diplomatic than Nawaz Sharif, but his statements that Imran is undisciplined, doesn’t have the ability to run the government, is trying to impose the law dictatorially or following the instructions of a third force, proves he is as ill-advised as Nawaz.

Zardari stated that the masters in Rawalpindi make decisions and political novices in Islamabad implement them. These are the comments of a man who was holding the highest chair in the government for five years. Possibly he knows his legacy will be tied to it and he isn’t entirely comfortable with that. A person who remained involved in many decisions made by the highest office from 1988 to 2013, during all the tenures when he, his wife, or the party remained in power, is desperately fighting to save himself and his illegitimate property and money.

And, finally, Zardari’s threats and demands are less-than-serious. He just can’t walk away with his money laundering and corruption beyond imagination with his threats and juvenile behaviour. He will have to pay for it and surely his family and his partners in crime will suffer. People of Pakistan are wise enough to comprehend that Zardari, Nawaz, Shahbaz, Asfand Wali, Achakzai, Fazal ur Rehman and people like owners of Omni Group, all are partners in crime. Obviously crime pays, or there would be no crime.

Tariq Mushtaq

The author is a technocrat and an international affairs analyst