WHEN Asif Zardari was about to marry Benazir Bhutto after her return from London in 1986, they had a pact: that he would never venture into politics. Ten years later, he has not just earned a reputation of being the most powerful person in Benazir's two tenures as prime minister, he is even accused of running a parallel government. In the event, he has become her most trusted ally and troubleshooter. Now he is turning into her biggest liability.
During Benazir's first tenure from 1988 to 1990, he was a source of constant embarrassment for her. Operating out of an office in the Prime Minister's secretariat, he would strike business deals and interfere in other government matters... soon earning the sobriquet 'Mr 10 per cent'.
Things became so tacky that Benazir had to ask him to move out of the secretariat. And when her government was dismissed on charges of corruption by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Zardari was portrayed as the root cause.
In the 1990 elections, he formally entered politics and won a seat from the PPP's...