Youth Awareness












Fatima Bhutto still waiting for the Justice

Fatima Bhutto sent her younger brother Zulfiqar Jr. away from Pakistan the day Asif Ali Zardari became the country’s President.

Niece of slain former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Fatima Bhutto says in her latest book, her “blood froze” on the day her uncle Zardari became the president.

Zardari was accused of plotting the murder of Fatima Bhtto’s father Murtaza Bhutto. Fatima insists Zardari is the murderer of her father even though he has been acquitted of the charge.

“On 20 September, 2008, on the 12th anniversary of Papa’s death, Asif Zardari took his oath as president of Pakistan. The ceremony had been scheduled for the day before, the 19th, but had been moved on the orders of the new president, who rescheduled his big day for Saturday, Papa’s barsi,” Fatima writes in her just-released memoir “Songs of Blood and Sword”.

“As he stood in front of parliament, which had voted him into the post almost unanimously (in the same highly democratic way that General Musharraf was ‘elected’ president), he paused in his speech and asked for a moment of silence to mark the occasion of his brother-in-law’s death. My blood froze. It was as if he was taunting us.

Murtaza Bhutto was killed Sep 20, 1996, when Fatima was 14, in a shootout with police near his Karachi residence called 70 Clifton.

On Dec 3, 2009, a Karachi court acquitted 20 policemen charged with Murtaza’s killing. Fatima and her mother Ghinwa called the verdict a mockery of justice.

After Benazir’s government was dismissed in 1996, Zardari was detained for having a part in Murtaza’s assassination. However, no charges were ever proved for want of evidence as the scene of Murtaza’s assassination was wiped clean before police investigators could arrive.

“When Zardari announced himself as the PPP’s unanimously chosenpresidential candidate we knew he would stop at nothing to reach the pinnacle of power. There was no turning back for him. Against all odds, he was going to rule Pakistan. We made the decision to take Zulfi out of the country. It was decision we had been avoiding, hoping it would not be necessary, since Benazir was killed in December 2007.

“But as Zulfi was the only surviving male heir of the Bhuttos, we couldn’t take the risk of leaving him vulnerable. Besides Zulfi, the only remaining Bhuttos are (cousin) Sassi and I. We don’t live in a country with a free press, we don’t live in a country with an independent judiciary – or any judiciary for that matter. We have no safeguards against a violent and vindictive government,” Fatima writes.

The book comes at a time when Zardari is set to be deprived of his sweeping powers through a constitutional amendment being tabled in parliament Friday to transfer to the prime minister major powers like the appointment of armed forces chiefs and reduce the president to a titular head of state.

 

 

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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on theMemogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.
On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan’s parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan’s senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.
The memo was passed from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on May 10, only nine days after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad.
Ijaz has repeatedly accused Haqqani of being behind the memo, and Ijaz claims that Haqqani was working with Zardari’s implicit support.
Early on Tuesday morning, Zardari’s spokesman revealed that the president had traveled to Dubai to see his children and undergo medical tests linked to a previously diagnosed “cardiovascular condition.”
A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO’s killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was “incoherent.” The Pakistani president had been feeling increased pressure over the Memogate scandal. “The noose was getting tighter — it was only a matter of time,” the former official said, expressing the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Zardari may be on the way out.
The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a “minor heart attack” on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health.”
“This is the ‘in-house change option’ that has been talked about,” said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, in a Tuesday interview with The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Zardari step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military’s wishes to get rid of Zardari.
“Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again,” said Nawaz. “Now if they stay at arm’s length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man.”
In Islamabad, some papers have reported that before Zardari left Pakistan, the Pakistani Army insisted that Zardari be examined by their own physicians, and that the Army doctors determined that Zardari was fine and did not need to leave the country for medical reasons. Zardari’s spokesman has denied that he met with the Army doctors.
One Pakistani source told The Cable that Zardari was informed on Monday that none of the opposition party members nor any of the service chiefs would attend his remarks to the parliament as a protest against his continued tenure. This source also said that over a dozen of Zardari’s ambassadors in foreign countries were in the process of being recalled in what might be a precursor to Zardari stepping down as president, taking many of his cronies with him.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that before leaving, Zardari met separately with Gilani, Chairman of the Senate Farooq H Naik, and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
This past weekend, the Memogate scandal worsened for Zardari when Ijaz alleged in a Newsweekopinion piece that Zardari and Haqqani had prior knowledge of the U.S. raid to kill bin Laden, and may have given permission for the United States to violate Pakistan’s airspace to conduct the raid.
On May 2, the day after bin Laden was killed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said in an interview with CNN that Pakistan, “did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping — we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to where he was first.”
In a statement given to the Associated Press of Pakistan Monday, White House spokespersonCaitlin Hayden said that information on the actual operation to kill bin Laden was not given to anyone in Pakistan.
“As we’ve said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance,” she said.
Zardari lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai from 2004 through 2007 after being released from prison, where he had been held for eight years on corruption charges. His three children live there, but his 23-year son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is in Pakistan now.


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