Those who think that the recent tirade of Asif Ali Zardari, widower and political heir of slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, against Pakistan army and its leaders, has anything to do with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should think again or at least put their imagination to rest for a while. It should be kept in mind that his hollow rants are meaningless for a number of reasons.
For the starters, he is no BB despite wearing her mantle as a result of a questionable will. He is not an international player; therefore, it would be naïve to suggest that the powers opposed to CPEC would use him to tarnish the image of Pakistan Army. Gen Raheel Sharif (no relation with the premier) the army commander, has proved to be a source of discomfort for a couple of countries by gradually occupying the political space and pulling the country out of international isolation through his proactive diplomatic maneuvers. His on-going visit to Russia is very significance because its outcome could put the world on to the path of a bi-polar world order to the horror of a super power. He has not only enlisted Russia’s support and partnership for this mammoth investment; he has made tangible arrangements to secure CPEC and under his command, has destroyed the terrorism infrastructure in the country. There are some rogue elements in the international establishment who may be keen to get him through a series of outbursts.
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In spite of the fact that the US, Israel and India are extremely unhappy with Pakistan Army and its leadership and they would be looking for someone to play their game in Pakistan, Zardari would still be a poor choice for international players. He himself has the problem of his own image nationally and internationally which is that of a small time thug who has plundered the country using different means through his cronies. He cannot think and act internationally unless he smells big money.
Fact of the matter is that through his latest tirade, he has attempted to blackmail the generals by pointing out certain unspecified skeletons in their cupboard. This blackmail is a hollow rant and is not expected to bear fruit. The present leadership of army has proven its credentials and according to some reports, has given a go-ahead to National Accountability Bureau to investigate economic wrongdoings of the family of a former army chief. This is not the good news for the likes of Zardari. The last he would want is an accountability knocking at his doors. He always knew his hands were not clean but he was never worried because he knows the art of pocketing the opponents. Times have, however, changed.
Major problem for Zardari is that there are number of birds that have started singing after the arrest of his money-laundering courier, model Ayan Ali. Those who are singing include his former crony who has revealed not money laundering but murder of many people ostensibly planned and ordered by Zardari. There are reports that Karachi war lord Uzair Baloch is in custody who has made startling revelations to implicate Zardari in murder.
Army’s interest in money-making initiatives of Zardari and its seriousness to bring all to book is inspired by the evidence that these money making business through criminal means bankrolls urban terrorism. Army’s seriousness to pursue this may have unnerved him leading him to make statements which reside on the border of public humiliation of a state institution which is a stark violation of the Constitution. Incidentally, this is the only institution in the country which commands massive public respect. His rants have, therefore, met their fate of becoming an object of humor and made him a laughing stock.
While Asif Zardari deserves to be severely punished for his frontal attack on the armed forces, it should be kept in mind that his tirade is to protect his own ill-gotten billions and for the present, there seems to be no one from across the borders behind him.