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Zardari: From Prison To Prime Minister House

By Nosheen Saeed, 

ISLAMABAD, 1-Jul-2008:The worst fears of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s elder son, have come true. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is on his way to successfully hijacking the Bhutto legacy. The coup that Zardari is staging will be unacceptable to the Bhutto clan and will cause a split within the party.

Many party workers rallied around Benazir and dedicated their life to her. While they believed in her blindly, they had no love lost for Zardari. Now by nominating his son Bilawal Zardari to succeed Benazir as party chief and himself as the co-chairperson of the PPP, Mr. Zardari has turned himself into kingmaker, co-chairing the party and calling the shots.

Under Pakistani law, parliamentary candidates must be at least 25 years old. That means it will take another six years for Bilawal to actively participate in politics. The Sunday Times reported that Jehangir Badr, a leading PPP figure, said the key decision about Benazir’s will and the prospect of Zardari returning to frontline politics has horrified several members of the CEC who blame him for embroiling Bhutto’s two short-lived governments in corruption allegations.

Many within the party would prefer to see the PPP taken over by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who ran the party while Bhutto was in exile. Zardari is also being blamed for Bhutto’s death by some who believe Benazir’s greedy husband was constantly goading her to return back, foolishly claiming in an interview that it was her birth-right to rule Pakistan. Had she remained single, she would certainly have proven to be a better leader and without the charges of corruption that dogged her for so many years.

The choice of Asif Zardari, known as a Karachi playboy who made wealth from real estate development, infuriated Murtaza, who was convinced that the Zardari family would use the marriage to take over the Bhutto legacy. Murtaza had returned to Pakistan in 1993 after 16 years in exile in Afghanistan and Syria to try to oust his sister from control of the family’s political extension, the PPP. Murtaza had been estranged from Benazir since their father’s death, and after returning to Pakistan he leveled charges of corruption against Benazir’s husband, Zardari.

Benazir kept her younger brother out of the family concern, the PPP. That further drove a wedge between Benazir and her mother Nusrat Bhutto, who wanted her eldest son to one day take over the party. Begum Nusrat Bhutto initially took control of the PPP but was soon overtaken by her ambitious daughter. Benazir’s relations with Nusrat were strained over her becoming sole PPP chair and by her brother Murtaza’s claim to his father’s political legacy.

A year later Murtaza, backed by his mother Nusrat, founded a rival PPP faction, the PPP-Shaheed (Martyr) Bhutto party, known as PPP-S, after he accused Benazir of betraying her father’s ideology. In 1996, Murtaza was killed by a police hit squad in Karachi yards from the family’s residence, after a family power struggle. He died, along with six of his supporters, in a hail of police gunfire.

Many pointed the finger of suspicion at Benazir, and her husband was later charged with complicity in the murder. Benazir accused Pakistan’s president at the time, President Leghari, of involvement and saw her second government dissolved shortly while Murtaza’s Lebanese wife Ghinwa accused Benazir and her husband Zardari of being behind the killing, sowing the seeds of a family feud that endures to this day.

The Pakistani public was shocked by this turn of events and PPP supporters were divided over the charges against Zardari. ‘Murtaza was killed during Benazir’s government,’ said Ghinwa, sitting on a worn leather sofa below a framed painting of Zulfikar Bhutto showing him addressing a huge rally. ‘It’s like the killer hid behind [Benazir] and shot [Murtaza].’

Soon after, Zardari, a member of Pakistan’s Senate, was jailed and faced the death penalty for allegedly approving the death of his brother-in-law. ‘I was especially distraught, because we had just reconciled after some years of political estrangement and the family had once again been coming together,’ Benazir wrote in her memoir, ‘Daughter of the East.’ Many within the PPP are questioning Zardari’s claim that in her will, read three days after the assassination, Benazir named Asif Ali Zardari her successor as chairman of the PPP, in the event of her death.

Party workers were baffled about why Benazir never took her close aides or the CEC into confidence about the will which was produced only when the CEC was to decide the question of party leadership. They say, this time around, Benazir deliberately kept Mr. Ten Percent out of politics and at a distance because of several cases of money laundering, corruption, murder, attempt to kidnap for ransom and the looting of the public treasury.

Benazir knew about the workers’ and her party leaders’ reservations about Zardari. She never considered him worthy of a party ticket nor did she allow him to accompany her to Pakistan. Even if Zardari claims that the corruption charges were politically motivated and are being used to smear him then it wasn’t only Pakistani officials who alleged that he is corrupt. The French, Polish, Spanish and Swiss governments have also charged Bhutto’s husband with corruption.

Zardari, who was appointed a Federal Minister for Investment and Environment accountable only to his wife-Prime Minister, was rumored to be receiving millions of dollars in bribes from a range of foreign corporations doing business in Pakistan, and had earned the street sobriquet of ‘Mr. Ten Percent.’ His largest deal allegedly involved a Middle East gold dealer who deposited $10 million into one of Zardari’s bank accounts after the government gave him a monopoly on gold imports.

Particularly troubling for many Pakistanis, who have a per capita income of about $2,000, was a $4 million opulent mansion he bought in Britain’s Surrey countryside under an assumed name and about which Benazir Bhutto claimed to know nothing. She had herself even suggested that perhaps he bought it for another woman. She also denied knowing anything about the beyond-opulent diamond necklace that rests in a bank box paid for by her husband. Some Bhutto supporters contend that the former prime minister was a woman wronged by her husband, who was being unfairly blamed for his crimes.

Zardari over the years has stored enough money from looting Pakistan, enough to purchase his own country. In a recent article, journalist Tom Plate wrote, ‘Predictably, Mrs. Bhutto’s final will and testament, just made public, underscores her sense of entitlement as she shamelessly denotes her husband as the inheritor of her Pakistan People’s Party. Husband Asif Ali Zardari is some piece of work, of course. Widely alleged to have suspicious stashes of cash in Switzerland, he is now to be the Pakistani Raj behind the PPP throne. He handed off the title to their eldest child, 19-year-old Bilawal.
The unflustered young prince quickly announced he was taking on the Bhutto name and ditching the Zardari; but would finish his studies at Oxford before doing anything new.’ Reflecting amid reports of the breakup of her marriage-alliance to Zardari earlier this year, Benazir Bhutto wrote candidly: ‘In the end, personal life is sacrificed on the altar of political commitment. This is because the public is the political family. To succeed and reach the top, most families, irrespective of gender, whether in politics or other professions, have to go the extra mile, consequently sacrificing personal interests to the larger cause.’

With the NRO, Zardari has gained sole control of Benazir’s assets and property; by becoming the PPP’s co-chairperson he has taken over the reins of her party; by changing his name to Asif Bhutto Zardari he has hijacked Bhutto’s political legacy and by becoming the leader of the largest party of Pakistan he is dreaming of occupying the Prime Minister and President houses in Islamabad. Is there anyone in the world who has benefited more from Benazir’s death than Mr. Zardari?



(as published in the Nation of April 01, 1998).

The list must have grown since. If not, then it will definitely grow now.


Plot no. 121, Phase VIII, DHA Karachi.
Agricultural land situated in Deh Dali Wadi, Taluka, Tando Allah Yar.
Agricultural property located in Deh Tahooki Taluka, District Hyderabad measuring 65.15 acres.
Agricultural land falling in Deh 76-Nusrat, Taluka, District Nawabshah measuring 827.14 acres
Agricultural land situated in Deh 76-Nusrat, Taluka, District Nawabshah measuring 293.18 acres
Residential plot No 3 (Now House) Block No B-I, City Survey No 2268 Ward-A Nawabshah
Huma Heights (Asif Apartments) 133, Depot Lines, Commissariat Road, Karachi
Trade Tower Building 3/CL/V Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi
House No 8, St 19, F-8/2, Islamabad
Agricultural land in Deh 42 Dad Taluka/ District Nawabshah
Agricultural land in Deh 51 Dad Taluka Distt Nawabshah
Plot No 3 & 4 Sikni (residential) Near Housing Society Ltd. Nawabshah
CafT Sheraz (C.S No. 2231/2 & 2231/3) Nawabshah
Agricultural land in Deh 23-Deh Taluka & District Nawabshah
Agricultural property in Deh 72-A, Nusrat Taluka, Nawabshah
Agricultural land in Deh 76-Nusrat Taluka, Nawabshah
Plot No. A/136 Survey No 2346 Ward A Government Employee’s Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, Nawabshah
Agricultural land in Deh Jaryoon Taluka Tando Allah Yar, Distt. Hyderabad
Agricultural land in Deh Aroro Taluka Tando Allah Yar ‘ ‘
Agricultural land in Deh Nondani Taluka Tando Allah Yar ‘ ‘
Agricultural land in Deh Lotko Taluka Tando Allah Yar ‘ ‘
Agricultural land in Deh Jhol Taluka Tando Allah Yar ‘ ‘
Agricultural land in Deh Kandari Taluka Tando Allah Yar ‘ ‘
Agricultural land in Deh Deghi Taluka Tando Mohammad Khan
Agricultural land in Deh Rahooki Taluka, Hyderabad
Property in Deh Charo Taluka, Badin
Agricultural property in Deh Dali Wadi Taluka, Hyderabad
Five acres prime land allotted by DG KDA in 1995/96
4,000 kanals on Simli Dam
80 acres of land at Hawkes Bay
13 acres of land at Maj Gulradi (KPT Land)
One acre plot, GCI, Clifton
One acre of land, State Life (Internationa l Center, Sadar)

FEBCs worth Rs. 4 million

Sakrand Sugar Mills Nawabshah
Ansari Sugar Mills Hyderabad
Mirza Sugar Mills Badin
Pangrio Sugar Mills Thatta
Bachani Sugar Mills Sanghar

Bomer Fiannce Inc, British Virgin Islands
Mariston Securities Inc, ‘ ‘ ‘
Marleton Business S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Capricorn Trading S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Fagarita Consulting INc, ‘ ‘ ‘
Marvil Associated Inc, , ‘ ‘ ‘
Pawnbury Finance Ltd, ‘ ‘ ‘
Oxton Trading Limited, ‘ ‘ ‘
Brinslen Invest S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Chimitex Holding S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Elkins Holding S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Minister Invest Ltd, ‘ ‘ ‘
Silvernut Investment Inc, ‘ ‘ ‘
Tacolen Investment Ltd, ‘ ‘ ‘
Marlcrdon Invest S A, ‘ ‘ ‘
Dustan Trading Inc, ‘ ‘ ‘
Reconstruction and Development Finance Inc, ‘ ‘ ‘
Nassam Alexander Inc.
Westminster Securities Inc.
Laptworth Investment Inc 202, Saint Martin Drive, West Jacksonville
Intra Foods Inc. 3376, Lomrel Grove, Jacksonville , Florida
Dynatel Trading Co, Florida
A.S Realty Inc. Palm Beach Gardens Florida
Bon Voyage Travel Consultancy Inc, Florida

355 acre Rockwood Estate, Surrey (Now stands admitted)
Flat 6, 11 Queensgate Terrace, London SW7
26 Palace Mansions, Hammersmith Road, London W14
27 Pont Street , London, SW1
20 Wilton Crescent, London SW1
23 Lord Chancellor Walk, Coombe Hill, Kingston, Surrey
The Mansion, Warren Lane, West Hampstead, London
A flat at Queensgate Terrace, London
Houses at Hammersmith Road, Wilton Crescen t, Kingston and in Hampstead.

12-3 Boulevard De-Nieuport, 1000, Brussels, (Building containing 4 shops and 2 large apartments)
Chausee De-Mons, 1670, Brussels

La Manoir De La Reine Blanche and property in Cannes

PROPERTIES IN USA — in the name of Asif Zardari and managed by Shimmy Qureshi are:
Stud farm in Texas
Wellington Club East, West Palm Beach
12165 West Forest Hills , Florida
Escue Farm 13,524 India Mound, West Palm Beach
3,220 Santa Barbara Drive, Wellington Florida
13,254 Polo Club Road, West Palm Beach Florida
3,000 North Ocean Drive, Singer Islands, Florida
525 South Flager Driver, West Palm Beach, Florida
Holiday Inn Houston Owned by Asif Ali Zardari, Iqbal Memon and Sadar-ud-Din Hashwani

Union Bank of Switzerland (Account No. 552.343, 257.556.60Q, 433.142.60V, 216.393.60T)
Citibank Private Limited (SWZ) (Account No. 342034)
Citibank N A Dubai (Account No. 818097)
Barclays Bank (Suisse) (Account No. 62290209)
Barclays Bank (Suisse) (Account No. 62274400)
Banque Centrade Ormard Burrus S A
Banque Pache S A
Banque Pictet & Cie
Banque La Henin, Paris (Account No. 00101953552)
Bank Natinede Paris in Geneva (Account NO. 563.726.9)
Swiss Bank Corporation
Chase Manhattan Bank Switzerland
American Express Bank Switzerland
Societe De Banque Swissee
Barclays Bank (Knightsbridge Branch) (Account No. 90991473)
Barclays Bank, Kingston and Chelsea Branch, (Sort Code 20-47-34135)
National Westminster Bank, Alwych Branch (Account No. 9683230)
Habib Bank (Pall Mall Branch).
National Westminster Bank, Barking Branch, (Account No. 28558999).
Habib Bank AG, Moorgate, London EC2
National Westminster Bank, Edgware Road, London
Banque Financiei E Dela Citee, Credit Suisse
Habib Bank AG Zurich, Switzerland
Pictet Et Cie, Geneva
Credit Agricole, Paris
Credit Agridolf, Branch 11, Place Brevier, 76440, Forges Les Faux
Credit Agricole, Branch Haute Normandie, 76230, Boise Chillaume

Known foreign assets of Benazir
According to an information released by a foreign source, the foreign assets of Benazir Bhutto include the following:

Her properties in the UK include:
Rockwood Estate, Haslemere Road, Brooke, Surrey,
Flats 6,11, Queens Gate Terrace London SW7;
26 Palace Mansion, Hammussmilch Road, London W14;
27 Pont Street London SW1; 20, Wilton Crescent, London SW1.

Her properties in France include: La Manoir Della La Reine Branch Mormon Ville, Hameau, (Near Forges); France 76780,5 Acre +2 attached properties (4.8 million French Francs in 1990); Property in Cannes France.

Her properties in the USA include:
Stud Farm in Texas; Wellington Club East, West Palm Beach,
Escue Farm, 13524, India Mound, West Palm Beach, Florida,
417 Acres; 3220 Santa Barba Drive Wellington, Florida;
13254, Polo Club Road, West Palm Beach, Florida;
3000, North Ocean Drive, Singer Islands, Florida;
525, South Flager Drive, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Based upon the available data and recent evaluations, the total estimated value of the above stated assets amount to 1.5 billion dollars. The information can be further authenticated through property evaluators and agents.

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