12 April, 2021

Knight, Rook And King

A pragmatist, Zardari has survived. But his tolerance and acuity is a first for Pakistan.

Knight, Rook And King

“Every day I passed by the hangman’s noose. Prisoners are jailed and hanged. But they are hanged not by the state but after due legal process. It is the law that sends you to the gallows. I was sent to jail by the state. I  survived the eight years, plus 28 months (between 1990 and 1993), under the Nawaz Sharif government in jail by following the example of my father-in-law Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who pref­erred the gallows than acquiesce to a military strongman’s worldview,” said Asif Ali Zardari to Outlook in December 2004, when he was finally set free by the Musharraf regime.

Today, nine years later, Zardari’s democratically elected government, led by his Pakistan People’s Party, has accomplished two historic firsts for Pakistan—it’s the first elected government to complete its five-year term. More importantly for some, it’s also the first one not to have had a single opposition figure imprisoned. “This is his greatest...

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