It is not everyday that I get to meet a Pakistani gentleman and talk about politics. Last evening while waiting at the bus stop he stood behind me in line and after we had whined about the frequency of late bus arrivals we asked each other, “ where are you from”, a common question asked in New York.
It has been a long time since he was going home this early, He said. And it was 9:30 pm at night. “My children would be already asleep because they have to leave to school early”.
They go to Woodrow Wilsons, He said.
"Isn’t it a school for the gifted,".I asked.
“Yes, it makes me feel very happy when somebody ask me that.” The pride and the beaming father said with a joy, as if he had the whole world in his palms “It can never happen back home !
I was wondering at the cultural scene in Pakistan and the opportunities for women there.
“I am glad to be in this country – a place where my daughters can study and choose professions of their own choice some day. where else can my girls enjoy more freedom ?" He continued.
“ I do not want to see my daughters overpowered by the thoughts of the society back home.”
“Hillary standing for presidential election has made a lot of difference for the women in this country. But back home when Benazir Bhutto became prime minister, nothing changed for the women in Pakistan.”
Benazir Bhutto, like the Indira Gandhi of India had grown up in the political limelight of her father Zia-ul Haq. Oxford and Harvard educated Benazir almost had no similarities to the millions of Pakistani women who are subjugated inside the cultural fabric.
“ My wife is an envy for living in freedom by her own siblings who live in Pakistan". He quipped.
"I am happy to be here despite the many hardships after 9/11 hoping for a better future for my daughters"
Such men may be numbered, I thought.
Conversation moved on to politics in Pakistan.I asked him what he thought about the new pakistani president Asif Zardari.
"Zardari is a “lutera “and a “Khatil” (in urdu) which translated would mean rob and kill.
“You would be surprised if I tell you Zardari has killed Bhutto,!People of Pakistan had anticipated this a long while ago and it was only time Zardari made it happen. “
When I reached home I goggled and this is what the link said:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080221042931AAd2taa, which I have cut and pasted here: -
“How far is it true that Benazir Bhutto was Asif Zardari's second wife, she was divorced& he plotted to kill ?
Veteran journalist Altaf Hasan Quraishi wrote in his digest in Urdu informations furnished by his another journalist friend of Karachi(which he says he disagrees2) that Benazir was divorced by his husband when he was released after passing 81/2 years in jail(for heavy corruption charges) & b coz of long separation. That's why both were living in separate countries. She had huge land in Larkana(in which a fast train takes one hour to cover up) & other properties at many places in the world & a joint account in swiss bank too with huge amount of money. He further adds that he didn't accompany her when she returned & election campaign she did alone. after her death, when he came back, his face didn't show any sign of tension & at the time of her burial his face showed as if he is convinced of happenings. Also, the suicide bombers & gunmen were his men. He was accused of killing her brother Murtaza too earlier. She was his second wife & he got killed his cousin Fateen too. Is it all true?
• 6 months ago
6 months ago
Asif Ali Zardari was head of Public Account Committee during Benazir's first term as PM. He was being called Mr 10 % b coz he was getting that much kickbacks in all govt projects. His musclemen once tied a remote controlled bomb to a leg of then top industrialist Bukhari of Al Bukhari Group(after his kidnapping) to give Rs. 100 crores to him or his leg'd be blown off & got money too. Similar things were done to others. He was grabbing lands for his building projects at throw away prices after kidnapping of owners. At two sides of his Bilawal House in posh Clifton area of Karachi, facing the sea, two 30 feet high iron gates were erected to block the whole road from public use. He tried to grab a bigger house nearby of a big businessman similarly to be named as Bakhtawar House but Takbeer weekly bared story & blew up the plan. He was earlier engaged to his beautiful cousin Fateen Zardari but later she refused & so, was murdered by his plan in a car accident near Clifton. He is a bad man.
6 months ago
While in jail for 8 1/2 years, he had set up a court system of which he himself was a judge & his judgements were biding. He was using his grouping & mucle flexing in the jail by ordering beating of any culprit by bamboo bars heavily. All possible sorts of hooliganism & goondaism he was doing in the jail too with full support of staff members who were afraid of him that after release he will eliminate them. He was like a king in jail. This he told to Shafi Naqi Jaameii on BBC Radio after release. If rumours are to be believed, he was coming out of jail too for amany days , unrecorded(obviously) as it is shown on many Indian TV serials of Balaji Telefilms by making jail staff 'crorepatis'(multi millionares). Now he is going to be power broker in his country.”
Once upon a time married to one of the politically powerful elite Benazir Bhutto, several corruption charges, a prison sentence and a society where justice is only for the rich and the powerful and husband of the murdered wife,things favored Asif Zardari to become the new president of Pakistan who was once a feudal lord. For those who are not familiar with Pakistan -the society is constantly engulfed in tribal feud always brewing somewhere, said the CIA analysts, a talk which I had attended at Wisconsin this summer.
Culturally Pakistan a tribal nation, pretended to turn democratic with the partition and independence on august 14, 1947. Overpowered by fanaticism, and people highly charged and emotional in nature, with a place only for orthodox conservative logic and fatalism the country is staggering under such pillars with no restitution in sight.
“It is only time that the country will break up into 3 parts”, the gentleman had said.
When I recently watched Asif zardari on BBC news sporting a sheepishly cunning smile my rational logic told me that there was more to the story of Zardari becoming the president and not the prime minister, which his wife, Benazir Bhutto had contested and which the gentleman had only confirmed.
A president in Pakistan comes to power elected by the parliament and not by contesting elections. Zardari had it easy. He assumed the supreme power with an understanding with the "Long hand" and the current Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and tomorrow can dissolve the parliament if he wanted to.
In a culture dominated by men, Benazir Bhutto campaigned along with the party workers, while Zardari stayed in a foreign land. He had always accompanied her on earlier campaigns. But this time, he was away.
Politics is the craft and art of using power, becoming powerful and sustaining power, is what I concluded.
And as for the Pakistani gentleman and his family my thoughts will always be “As-salaamu Alaikum” which means peace be upon you.