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Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari

Overview
Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th and current President of Pakistan
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 (PPP). He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

.

A Balochi
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 from a tribe based in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Zardari rose to prominence after his marriage to Bhutto in 1987. Zardari became widely known as "Mr. 10 Percent" during the premierships of Bhutto because of his alleged role in obtaining kickbacks as an intermediary in government deals.
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Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th and current President of Pakistan
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 (PPP). He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

.

A Balochi
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 from a tribe based in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Zardari rose to prominence after his marriage to Bhutto in 1987. Zardari became widely known as "Mr. 10 Percent" during the premierships of Bhutto because of his alleged role in obtaining kickbacks as an intermediary in government deals. His political career has been mired in corruption allegations, for which he was imprisoned from 1990 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2004. Between 1993 and 1996, he held various cabinet
Cabinet of Pakistan
The Cabinet of Pakistan is headed by Prime Minister and plays an important role in the Government of Pakistan, in accordance with the Westminster System....

 positions in the second Bhutto administration. During this period, his extensive entanglement in the Bhutto family
Bhutto family
The Bhutto family is a political family in Pakistan. Bhutto is a Rajput tribe settled in Sindh.-List of family members:* Pir Bakhsh Bhutto* * Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto, Ameer Bakhsh Bhutto, Illahi Bux Bhutto...

 feud over the future leadership of the PPP led to him being suspected of, and later indicted for, orchestrating the sudden death of Murtaza Bhutto
Murtaza Bhutto
Dr. Mir Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto was a Pakistani politician and the Member of the Parliament of Pakistan, representing Pakistan People's Party from the Larkana constituency...

.

He was arrested for corruption in late 1996, following the collapse of the Bhutto government. Although incarcerated, he nominally served in Parliament after being elected to the National Assembly
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

 in 1990 and Senate
Senate of Pakistan
The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the senate and each senator has a term of six years...

 in 1997. He was released from jail in 2004 amid rumors of reconciliation between Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

 and the PPP. He subsequently went into self-exile in Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, but returned in December 2007 after Bhutto's assassination
Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto occurred on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Bhutto, twice Prime Minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January 2008...

. As the Co-Chairman of the PPP, he led his party to victory in the 2008 general elections
Pakistani general election, 2008
A general election was held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008, after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The original date was intended to elect members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora...

. He spearheaded a coalition that forced Musharraf to resign and was elected President on 6 September 2008.

As president, Zardari has been a consistently strong U.S. ally in the war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, despite prevalent public disapproval of the nation's involvement in the conflict. He came under domestic criticism in 2008 after flirting with American vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

. In late 2008, his government obtained a three-year multi-billion dollar loan package from the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 in an effort to steer the nation out of an economic crisis. In early 2009, his attempt to prevent the reinstatement of Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...

 judges failed in the face of massive protests led by Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

, his chief political rival. The passage of the 18th Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
Amendment XVIII of the Constitution of Pakistan, was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on April 8, 2010, removing the power of the President of Pakistan to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic, and renaming...

 in 2010 reduced his vast presidential powers to that of a ceremonial figurehead. He again aroused widespread public uproar for his trip to Europe in the midst of the devastating 2010 floods
2010 Pakistan floods
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater, approximately...

 across Pakistan.

Early life and education


Zardari was born on 26 July 1955 in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 into the Zardari family
Zardari family
The Zardari family is a Sindhi political family in Pakistan. However the Zardari family is ethnically Balochi. The family heads the Zardari tribe.- Hakim Ali Zardari family :...

. He is a Sindhi
Sindhi people
Sindhis are a Sindhi speaking socio-ethnic group of people originating from Sindh, a province Formerly of British India, now in Pakistan. Today Sindhis that live in Pakistan belong to various religious denominations including Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity...

 of Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 origin, belonging to the Sindhi-Baloch
Sindhi Baloch
Sindhi-Baloch are Baloch tribes living in Sindh province of Pakistan. The term Sindhi Baloch refers to the Baloch people that migrated from Balochistan to Sindh and have assimilated with Sindhis. These tribes came originally from Iran and Balochistan, and settled in Sindh from the 16th century...

 Zardari tribe. He is the only son of Hakim Ali Zardari
Hakim Ali Zardari
Hakim Ali Zardari was an industrialist and a landlord from Sindh, Pakistan. He belonged to a Baloch family settled in Sindh. He was the father of current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and father in law of late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Hakim Ali Zardari was married to Dr...

, a tribal chief and prominent landowner, and Zarrin Zardari.

In his youth, he enjoyed polo
Polo
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called, "The Sport of Kings", it was highly popularized by the British. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a...

 and boxing. He led a polo team known as the Zardari Four. His father owned Bambino—a famous movie theater in Karachi—and donated movie equipment to his school. Zardari's academic background remains a question mark. He received his primary education from Karachi Grammar School
Karachi Grammar School
Karachi Grammar School is an independent, highly selective, coeducational, English-medium school in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.Established in 1847 by the Reverend Henry Brereton, the first chaplain of Karachi, as a school for "English and Anglo-Indo children", it is the oldest private school in...

. His official biography says he graduated from Cadet College, Petaro in 1972. He went to St Patrick's High School, Karachi from 1973–74; a school clerk says he failed his final examination there. 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.

Early political career


Zardari's initial political career was unsuccessful. In 1983, he lost an election for a district council seat in Nawabshah
Nawabshah
Nawabshah , or Shaheed Benazirabad, is a district in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is headquarter of Shaheed Benazir Abad District...

, a city north of Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, where his family owned thousands of acres of farmland. He then went into real estate.

Marriage to Bhutto


He married Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

 on 18 December 1987. The arranged marriage
Arranged marriage
An arranged marriage is a practice in which someone other than the couple getting married makes the selection of the persons to be wed, meanwhile curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world...

, done in accordance with Pakistani culture, was initially considered an unlikely match. The lavish sunset ceremony in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 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
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

 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
Pakistani general election, 1988
General elections were held in Pakistan on 16 November 1988 to elect the National Assembly of Pakistan. The result was a victory for the Pakistan People's Party, which won 94 of the 207 seats...

.

Involvement in the first Bhutto Administration and first imprisonment


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.

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
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. During the interim government between August and October, caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was a Pakistani politician, and was the Acting Prime Minister of Pakistan for 3 months, from August 6, 1990 to November 6, 1990. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi's ancestors were mureeds of the Pir's of Sarhandi....

, 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".

He was arrested on 10 October 1990 on charges relating to kidnapping and extortion. 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. In the October 1990 elections, he was elected to the National Assembly
National Assembly
National Assembly is either a legislature, or the lower house of a bicameral legislature in some countries. The best known National Assembly, and the first legislature to be known by this title, was that established during the French Revolution in 1789, known as the Assemblée nationale...

 while in jail. 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
Anti Terrorism Court of Pakistan
Anti Terrorism Court was established in Pakistan, under Nawaz Sharif's government, to deal with terrorism cases.- 1997 creation and subsequent amendments :...

, 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.

Political involvement in the second Bhutto Administration


In April 1993, he became one of the 18 cabinet ministers in the caretaker government that succeeded Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

's first abridged premiership. 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
Federal Investigation Agency
The Federal Investigation Agency is an agency of Pakistan, under the Ministry of Interior, that serves as a federal criminal investigative body with one of the Directorate dealing as Pakistani body of Interpol. It has a wide role in anti-terrorism, anti-fascism, anti-corruption, human smuggling...

. In February 1994, Benazir sent Zardari to meet with Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 to deliver medicine in exchange for three detained Pakistanis arrested on the ambiguous Kuwait-Iraq border. In April 1994, Zardari denied allegations that he was wielding unregulated influence as a spouse and acting as "de-facto Prime Minister". In March 1995, he was appointed chairman of the new Environment Protection Council.

During the beginning of the second Bhutto Administration, a Bhutto family feud between Benazir and her mother, Nusrat Bhutto
Nusrat Bhutto
Begum Nusrat Bhutto was an Iranian-Pakistani who was the wife of the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, serving as the First Lady of Pakistan during his premiership from 1971 until Bhutto's removal in 1977. She became her husband's successor as the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples...

, surfaced over the political future of Murtaza Bhutto
Murtaza Bhutto
Dr. Mir Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto was a Pakistani politician and the Member of the Parliament of Pakistan, representing Pakistan People's Party from the Larkana constituency...

, 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
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, 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
Ghinwa Bhutto
Ghinwa Bhutto is a politician and the widow of Murtaza Bhutto. She is also the sister-in-law of the late Benazir Bhutto. She is of Syrian-Lebanese origin and is the second wife of Murtaza Bhutto and stepmother of Fatima Bhutto....

, Murtaza's widow, also accused Zardari of being behind his killing. President Farooq Leghari
Farooq Leghari
Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari was the eighth President of Pakistan from November 14, 1993 until December 2, 1997...

, 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.

In November 1996, Bhutto's government was dismissed by Leghari primarily because of corruption and Murtaza's death. Zardari was arrested in Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 while attempting to flee the country to Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

.

New York Times report


A major report was published in January 1998 by The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

detailing Zardari's vast corruption and misuse of public funds. The report discussed $200 million in kickbacks to Zardari and a Pakistani partner for a $4 billion contract with French military contractor Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional and business jets, a subsidiary of Dassault Group.It was founded in 1930 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or "MB". After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the...

, in a deal that fell apart only when the Bhutto government was dismissed. It contained details of two payments of $5 million each by a gold bullion dealer in return for a monopoly on gold imports. It had information from Pakistani investigators that the Bhutto family had allegedly accrued more than $1.5 billion in illicit profits through kickbacks in virtually every sphere of government activity. It also reported Zardari's mid-1990s spending spree, which included hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on jewelry. The arrangements made by the Bhutto family for their wealth relied on Western property companies, Western lawyers, and a network of Western friends. The report described how Zardari had arranged secret contracts, painstaking negotiations, and the dismissal of anyone who objected to his dealings.

Citibank
Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

, already under fire for its private-banking practices, got into further trouble as a result of the report. Zardari's financial history was one case study in a 1999 U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 report on vulnerabilities in banking procedures.

Second imprisonment and conviction


In March 1997, Zardari was elected to the Senate while in a Karachi jail. In December 1997, he was flown to Islamabad under tight security to take his oath.

In July 1998, he was indicted for corruption in Pakistan after the Swiss government handed over documents to Pakistani authorities relating to money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

. 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.

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. 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.

In May 1999, he was hospitalized after an alleged attempted suicide. He claimed it was a murder attempt by the police.

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. 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
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, the couple faced additional allegations.

In November 2004, he was released on bail by court order. 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
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

 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. After his second release in late 2004, he left for exile in Dubai.

Exile and legal problems


He returned to Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 in April 2005. Police prevented him from holding rallies by escorting him from the airport to his home. He criticized Musharraf's government, but rumors of reconciliation between Musharraf and the PPP grew. Zardari went back to Dubai in May 2005.

In June 2005, he suffered a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 and was treated in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. A PPP spokesman stated he underwent angioplasty
Angioplasty
Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel, the latter typically being a result of atherosclerosis. An empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire, known as a balloon catheter, is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In September 2005, he did not show up for a Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

 hearing on corruption charges; the court issued an arrest warrant. His lawyers stated he could not come because he was recovering from his treatment. Following a request by the Rawalpindi court, Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

 issued a red notice
Red notice
An Interpol notice or international notice is issued by Interpol to share information between its members. There are seven types, six of which are known by their colour codes: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black, Orange....

 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
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 undergoing medical treatment. After the October 2007 bombing in Karachi
2007 Karachi bombing
The 2007 Karachi bombing of October 18, 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, was an attack on a motorcade carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The bombing occurred two months before she was assassinated...

 that tainted Bhutto's return, he accused Pakistani intelligence services of being behind the attacks and claimed "it was not done by militants". He had not accompanied Bhutto, staying in Dubai with their daughters. 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.

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
National Reconciliation Ordinance
The National Reconciliation Ordinance was a controversial ordinance issued by the former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, on October 5, 2007...

 (NRO)—to drop corruption charges against Bhutto and Zardari in return for a joint Bhutto-Musharraf coalition to govern Pakistan. Bhutto and Zardari sympathized with Musharraf on his feud with the Supreme Court, but simultaneously criticized the imposition of martial law. Before the Supreme Court could issue a decision, Musharraf replaced its members with his supporters.

In the midst of his exile, Zardari had several different legal problems. In Pakistan, Musharraf granted him amnesty for his alleged offenses through the National Reconciliation Ordinance, drafted in October 2007. However, the ordinance faced mounting public pressure and an uncompromising judiciary. In addition, it only dealt with charges up to 1999. 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. If the ordinance was rescinded, he would have had to deal with charges relating to evading duties on an armored BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

, commissions from a Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 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
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

 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.

On the night of 27 December 2007, he returned to Pakistan following his wife's assassination
Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto occurred on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Bhutto, twice Prime Minister of Pakistan and then-leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January 2008...

.

Bhutto's assassination and succession



Zardari prevented Bhutto's autopsy in accordance with Islamic principles. He and their children attended her funeral, which was held the next day. He rebuffed 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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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 favored 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.

February parliamentary elections and coalition formation


Zardari called for no delays to the January 8 parliamentary elections and for the participation of all opposition parties. Other major political parties quickly agreed to participate, ending any chance of a boycott. Because of the turmoil after the Bhutto assassination, the elections were postponed six weeks to February 18. 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). He and Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

 party (PML-N), threatened national protests if any vote-rigging was attempted. 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.

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
Anne W. Patterson
Anne Woods Patterson is an American diplomat and career Foreign Service Officer. She currently serves as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. She previously served as acting United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and as United States Ambassador to Pakistan from July 2007 to...

, who pushed for a pact with Musharraf. To strengthen the new coalition, he reached out to Awami National Party
Awami National Party
The Awami National Party is an Pashtun nationalist, socialist, centre-left political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International...

, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Muttahida Qaumi Movement generally known as MQM, is a liberal-secular political party of Pakistan. It is generally known as a party which holds immense mobilizing potential in province of Sindh...

, and Baloch nationalist
Baloch nationalism
Baloch nationalism is a movement which claims that the Baloch people, an ethno-linguistic group mainly found in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are a nation...

 leaders, who had all boycotted the elections.

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
Yousaf Raza Gillani
Yousuf Raza Gilani is the current prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He was nominated as Prime Minister by the PPP, with the support of its coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League , Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, on 22 March 2008...

 for Prime Minister in a snub to the more politically powerful Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Coalition government


He and Sharif agreed in a 9 March 2008 agreement, known as the Murree
Murree
Murree city is a popular hill station and a summer resort, especially for the residents of Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and for the cities of the province of Punjab, Pakistan...

 declaration, to the reinstatement by 30 April 2008 of 60 judges previously sacked by Musharref. The deadline was later extended to May 12. 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
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

.

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. He opposed impeachment calls because he claimed the coalition did not have the two-thirds majority in both legislative bodies—National Assmebly
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

 and Senate
Senate of Pakistan
The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the senate and each senator has a term of six years...

. He was unwilling to restore the judiciary as divisions in the coalition grew and popular sentiment shifted towards Sharif. The coalition criticized 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.

In August 2008, Zardari relented, and the coalition agreed to proceed full speed towards Musharraf's impeachment by drafting a charge-sheet against him. The coalition charged him with high treason for the 1999 coup and the imposition of martial law. He warned Musharraf against dismissing Parliament, and the coalition selected Gillani instead of Musharraf to represent Pakistan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On 18 August, Musharraf resigned in order to avoid impeachment. Although Zardari favored 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.

Rise to Presidency


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
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Muttahida Qaumi Movement generally known as MQM, is a liberal-secular political party of Pakistan. It is generally known as a party which holds immense mobilizing potential in province of Sindh...

 (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.The electoral college is composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies. The parliamentary lower house National Assembly has 342 seats. The upper house Senate has 100 seats. The four provincial assemblies are Sindh
Provincial Assembly of Sindh
The Provincial Assembly of the Sindh is a unicameral house of elected representatives of people of Sindh established under Article 106 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan...

, Punjab
Provincial Assembly of the Punjab
The Provincial Assembly of the Punjab is a unicameral legislature of elected representatives of the province of Punjab, which is located in Lahore in eastern Pakistan...

, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan respectively. The assemblies have total of 1170 seats, but the number of electoral college votes is 702 since provincial assembly votes are counted on a proportional basis. A person needs to win 352 votes to obtain a majority.
He was elected President on 6 September 2008.The President serves for five years.

First days



At the inauguration on 9 September 2008, Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 President Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 was a guest of honor, which was a signal for much closer cooperation between the two nations in addressing the tribal insurgency along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
Durand Line
The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...

. After the election, Zardari promised to approve the constitutional provision that removed the President's power to dismiss Parliament, but public skepticism 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 the September 20 Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
The Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing occurred during the night of 20 September 2008, when a dump truck filled with explosives detonated in front of the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, killing at least 54 people, injuring at least 266 and leaving a 60 ft wide, 20 ft ...

. A few days later, he went to the United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 on his first overseas trip as President.

United Nations visit



From 23 to 26 September 2008, he met with various foreign leaders, including U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 and Chinese President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

. He suffered political embarrassment by flirting with U.S. Vice Presidential
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 candidate Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 and making tongue-in-cheek
Tongue-in-cheek
Tongue-in-cheek is a phrase used as a figure of speech to imply that a statement or other production is humorously intended and it should not be taken at face value. The facial expression typically indicates that one is joking or making a mental effort. In the past, it may also have indicated...

 comments about her. Although, at the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, he publicly condemned U.S drone attacks in Pakistan
Drone attacks in Pakistan
The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

, 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 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. A Sikh, he is the first non-Hindu to occupy the office. Singh is also the 7th Prime Minister belonging to the Indian...

 agreed to resume peace talks by the end of 2008.

Economic crises


From 14 to 17 October 2008, he was in China to negotiate foreign aid
Foreign aid to Pakistan
Pakistan receives Foreign aid from several different countries and the International community. Much of this money goes to the development of stability and civil development within the country.The bulk of assistance to Pakistan is from the Coalition Support Fund which is reimbursement "to Pakistan...

, as Pakistan faced the possibility of defaulting
Default (finance)
In finance, default occurs when a debtor has not met his or her legal obligations according to the debt contract, e.g. has not made a scheduled payment, or has violated a loan covenant of the debt contract. A default is the failure to pay back a loan. Default may occur if the debtor is either...

 on its payments. 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
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 refused to provide any bailout, he officially asked the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (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. 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.

In mid-November 2008, Zardari's government officially sent a letter of intent
Letter of intent
A letter of intent is a document outlining an agreement between two or more parties before the agreement is finalized. The concept is similar to a heads of agreement...

 to the IMF regarding a bailout to help increase its foreign exchange reserves
Foreign exchange reserves
Foreign-exchange reserves in a strict sense are 'only' the foreign currency deposits and bonds held by central banks and monetary authorities. However, the term in popular usage commonly includes foreign exchange and gold, Special Drawing Rights and International Monetary Fund reserve positions...

. 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 privatizing state enterprises. The World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

 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 Pakistan, a government falls not by losing a majority but after a no-confidence vote.

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.

Relationship with India



In early October 2008, he received fierce domestic criticism for repeatedly calling Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

i nationalists (see Kashmir conflict
Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwesternmost region of South Asia....

) in India "terrorists". 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. He initially denied any links between the perpetrators and Pakistan, but the government soon pursued military action against Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

 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
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 Director-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha to assist in the investigation.

In June 2009, Zardari met Singh for the first time since the Mumbai attacks at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Shanghai Cooperation Organization
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO , is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan...

 summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

AfPak War


The government has had a longstanding conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Federally Administered Tribal Areas
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan, lying between the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and the neighboring country of Afghanistan. The FATA comprise seven Agencies and six FRs...

 (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistani regions bordering Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Diplomatic relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai improved after Musharraf's departure and Zardari's rise to power. The Obama administration's AfPak
AfPak
AfPak is a neologism used within US foreign policy circles to designate Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater of operations.This policy approach introduced by the Obama administration along with the cooperation of its top commanders and allies regards the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan...

 policy, through Richard Holbrooke
Richard Holbrooke
Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was an American diplomat, magazine editor, author, professor, Peace Corps official, and investment banker....

, reflected the unified approach the United States took in dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In his first visit to Afghanistan as President in early January 2009, Zardari promised a renewed relationship to improve cooperation. 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
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 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
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 in mid-June, Zardari unsuccessfully sought trade concessions from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

; it instead pledged $90 million development aid to curtail tribal influence by insurgents. After the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed Obama's civilian aid package in October, army generals in the Pakistani military establishment
Establishment (Pakistan)
The Establishment is a term used commonly by Pakistani political scientists and also by political scholars and analysts around the world for the powerful military-dominant oligarchy in Pakistan...

 widened the growing rift with Zardari's government and openly criticized U.S. interference.

In February 2009, FATA's provincial government officially declared Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 in Swat to achieve a ceasefire with the northwestern Pashtun tribes
Pashtun tribes
The Pashtun people are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the second largest in Pakistan. Pashtun, tribes are divided into four supertribal confederacies: the Arbanee , Betanee , Gharghasht, and Karlanee .Traditionally, according to folklore, all Pashtuns are said to have descended, at...

. 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 neighboring Dir
Lower Dir District
Lower Dir is one the 24 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The district was formed in 1996, when the district of Dir was divided into Upper Dir and Lower Dir.- Administration :...

 district.

In September 2010, Zardari and Karzai met in Islamabad and both advocated fighting insurgents rather than trying to end the war with diplomacy. Zardari went to the United States in January 2011 to attend Special Envoy Holbrooke's funeral. Following Osama bin Laden's death in May 2011, Obama called Zardari and collaborated on the events.

Reinstatement of the judiciary



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
Shahbaz Sharif
Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif is a well-known conservative Pakistani politician and currently President of Pakistan Muslim League . He is the brother of Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is the chief minister of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab since 2008...

 to resign as Chief Minister of Punjab province. 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
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the current Chief Justice of Pakistan.He became chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court in 2005 and soon became not only a central figure in the nation's political struggles but an icon to the country's legal profession and others campaigning for the rule of law...

. After Nawaz Sharif defied house arrest and rallied with thousands of his supporters, the Sharif brothers vowed to join forces with the Lawyers' Movement
Lawyers' Movement
The Lawyers' Movement was the name given to the popular mass protest movement started by the lawyers of Pakistan in response to the dictatorial actions of 9 March 2007, by the country's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, when he unconstitutionally sacked Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief...

 in the "Long March". Zardari's government gave in to popular pressure and Prime Minister Gillani promised to reinstate Chaudhry by March 21. 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.

Reduction of presidential powers


In late November 2009, Zardari ceded to Prime Minister Gillani the chairmanship of the National Command Authority, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal oversight agency.

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. Zardari, who rarely left the Aiwan-e-Sadr
Aiwan-e-Sadr
The Aiwan-e-Sadr or Presidency is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Pakistan.The first President who used it was Ghulam Ishaq Khan, in 1988...

 presidential palace, responded with a nationwide spurt of speeches in January 2011. In January 2010, the Supreme Court ordered Pakistan's government to reopen Zardari's corruption charges in Switzerland. However, Zardari prevented the MQM-leaning Attorney General
Attorney General of Pakistan
The Attorney General for Pakistan is appointed under Article 100 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan appointed under the Central Law Officers Ordinance, 1970...

, 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
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 Attorney General Daniel Zappelli stated that Zardari can not be prosecuted under international laws because of his presidential immunity
Immunity from prosecution (international law)
Immunity from prosecution is a doctrine of international law that allows an accused to avoid prosecution for criminal offences. Immunities are of two types. The first is functional immunity, or immunity ratione materiae. This is an immunity granted to people who perform certain functions of...

. Zardari was supported by Prime Minister Gilani, who defied the Supreme Court order.

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. 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 late September 2010, the Supreme Court considered removing presidential immunity. In October, Chief Justice Chaudry met with his colleagues to discuss troubling media rumors that Zardari's government was planning to fire them; Chaudry requested government assurance that the stories were unfounded. 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.

In March 2011, Zardari delivered his annual parliamentary address to a half-empty chamber because of an opposition walkout.

2010 Pakistan floods and Europe tour


The 2010 Pakistan floods
2010 Pakistan floods
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater, approximately...

 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
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 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 Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an trip in Paris on 1 August, meeting French President Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

. 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 criticized for flying in a helicopter to his Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 chateau and dining at Cameron's Chequers
Chequers
Chequers, or Chequers Court, is a country house near Ellesborough, to the south of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England, at the foot of the Chiltern Hills...

 countryside home. Protests within Britain grew against his visit as one demonstrator grabbed headlines after hurling shoes
Shoeing
Shoeing, throwing shoes, showing the sole of one's shoe or using shoes to insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world.Incidents where shoes were thrown at political figures have taken place in Australia, India, Ireland, Israel, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and most notably,...

 at him. The widely expected maiden speech by his son Bilawal was cancelled, as Zardari faced criticism for using the trip to advance Bilawal's political asperations.

Zardari returned to Pakistan on 10 August. He first visit to an area affected by the flooding was in Sukkur
Sukkur
Sukkur, or Sakharu , formerly Aror and Bakar, is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River in Pakistan in Sukkur District. However, the word Sakharu in Sindhi means "superior", which the spelling of the city's name in Sindhi suggests is the origin of the...

 on 12 August. He cancelled the August 14 Independence Day
Independence Day (Pakistan)
Pakistan's independence day is observed on 14 August, the day before Pakistan was made an independent country based on border lines created by the British during the end of their rule of India. Pakistan became an independent country in 1947. The day is a national holiday in Pakistan...

 celebrations and instead visited Naushera
Naushera
Naushera, also Naoshera, Urdu نوشهره is a village and one of the 51 Union Councils of Khushab District in the Punjab Province of Pakistan.. Naushera is the main town of Soon Valley. Situated in the heart of Soon Valley, Naushera is surrounded by high hills, beautiful lakes, jungles, natural pools...

. He flew over devastated areas with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

 on August 15. He left the country on 18 August and attended the four-way Russian summit at Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, which included Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Afghanistan. On 19 August, he visited Jampur
Jampur
Jampur is a small city located at 29°38'32" N , 70°35'45"E in Rajanpur District, south of Dera Ghazi Khan, in the centre of Pakistan. It comprises an area of about 8-10 square kilometres and has a population of almost 1,20,000.-History:...

 with U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

. He ordered local authorities to concentrate efforts to save Shahdadkot
Shahdadkot
Shahdadkot is a district in Sindh, Pakistan. Shahdadkot town with population of around 400,000 inhabitants, is located 51 kilometres from Larkana on the border of Balochistan province. Inhabitants belong to both Sindhis and Balochs...

 from inundation on 24 August.

Family


Zardari and Benazir Bhutto had one son and two daughters. His son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Bilawal Zardari Bhutto is the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He is the only son of President Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.-Early life and education:...

, is the current Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

. 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
Faryal Talpur
-Political career:Talpur participated in the Pakistani presidential election, 2007 from the platform of Pakistan Peoples Party and is a Member of Pakistan's National Assembly...

 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
Azra Peechoho
Azra Fazal TeeT, also spelled Pechucho is a politician and physician in Sindh, Pakistan. She is the sister of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and sister-in-law of Benazir Bhutto. She is a member of Pakistan Peoples Party....

.

Pakistani news media, including the nation's largest Urdu newspaper (from the Jang Group
Jang Group of Newspapers
Jang Group of Newspapers is a subsidiary of the Independent Media Corporation. It has its headquartered in Printing House, Karachi...

), reported that Zardari had married Tanveer Zamani in January 2011. Zardari and Zamani denied the rumors. Zardari threatened legal action against the Jang Group.

His father Hakim Ali Zardari died in May 2011. Zardari decided not to assume leadership (tumandar
Tumandar
Tumundar is a title given to the leader of a Baloch tribe in Pakistan. For example,* Nawab Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti was the Tumandar of the Bugti tribe....

i) of the Zardari tribe and instead crowned Bilawal as the tribe's chieftain.

Health


His mental health has been a subject of controversy. He has repeatedly claimed he was tortured while in prison. He was diagnosed with dementia
Dementia
Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging...

, major depressive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Posttraumaticstress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity,...

 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.

Wealth


In 2005, Daily Pakistan
Daily Pakistan
Daily Pakistan is an Urdu daily newspaper in Pakistan. Mr. Mujib ur Rahman Shami is currently its chief editor and it has a circulation of over 500,000 copies per day. Daily Pakistan is currently published from Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Multan and Peshawar simultaneously. This Lahore-based daily...

reported he was the second richest man in Pakistan with an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion. He amassed great wealth while his wife was Prime Minister. In 2007, he received $60 million in his Swiss bank account through offshore companies under his name. He was reported to have estates in Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

, West End of London
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

, Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, and Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, as well as a 16th century chateau
Château
A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions...

 in Normandy. In Britain, he used a common legal device—the purchase of property through nominees with no family link to the Bhuttos. His homes in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are called Bilawal House I, Bilawal House II, and Zardari House respectively.

Surrey estate


He bought a 365-acre (148-hectare) 20-bedroom luxury estate in Rockwood, Surrey in 1995 through a chain of firms, trusts, and offshore companies in 1994. The country home's refurbishment abruptly ended in October 1996, shortly before the end of his wife's second term. He initially denied for eight years that he owned the property and no one paid the bills for the work on the unoccupied mansion. Creditors forced a liquidation sale in 2004 and the Pakistani government claimed the proceeds because the home had been bought with money obtained through corruption. However, he stepped in to claim that he actually was the beneficial owner. , the proceeds were in a liquidator bank account while a civil case continues.

The estate includes two farms, lodgings, staff accommodation, and a basement made into an imitation of a local pub. The manor has nine bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool.

He had sent large shipments from Karachi in the 1990s for the refurbishment of Surrey Place. He has faced allegations from various people, including the daughter of Laila Shahzada
Laila Shahzada
Laila Shahzada is one of Pakistan's most internationally renowned artists. She was of the first women painters in Pakistan to gain international recognition, with exhibitions around the world including Pakistan, London, Paris, Tokyo, Monte Carlo and New York.-Honours:She was awarded the...

, that he acquired stolen art to decorate the place. He earlier had plans for a helipad, a nine-hole golf course, and a polo pony paddock.

External links


Works


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