Dr Asim an innocent rabbit, says Zardari

Islamabad - Defending the former minister, he said Dr Asim is a progressive individual who "did not need to provide medical help to criminals".



By Afzal Khan

Published: Sat 12 Mar 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Mar 2016, 11:53 AM

Pakistan People's Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that former petroleum minister and his close aide Dr Asim Hussain, who is facing charges of terrorism and corruption, is like "an innocent rabbit afraid of his own shadow".
In an interview with DawnNews TV in New York, Zardari said 'Asim is incapable of corruption' let alone facilitating or providing medical help to terrorists.
"Asim is a childhood friend and my family doctor. He is the grandson of Dr Ziauddin, and comes from a family that helped create Pakistan," said the former president.
Defending the former minister, he said Dr Asim is a progressive individual who "did not need to provide medical help to criminals".
He also denied allegations of his party's links with Lyari gang-war leader Uzair Baloch. "It was the PPP government which initiated the action against Uzair, filed cases and issued red warrants against him."
Zardari clarified that his hard-hitting speech at a PPP event last year, which made waves because it was seen as a clear threat to the security establishment, was not against the army.
"Maybe these statements were not explained but I never meant to antagonise our institutions or give strength to the Taleban."
The PPP, with its strength in the upper house, played a key role in transferring power to the establishment. "If we had not passed it (21st constitutional amendment) there were many political forces on the table that were against it."
Rejecting speculations that he had left Pakistan in the wake of tensions with the establishment, Zardari said he was not one to flee out of fear.
"I spent 12 out of 27 years of my political career in jail, which means almost one out of every two days in my political career I was behind bars. Why did I do this?
"To bring back democracy. We fought a dictator and made him (Musharraf) walk out," said the PPP chief.
Explaining his absence from the country's political scene, Zardari said: "I have a whole history of issues (medical). I never got the opportunity to get these problems fixed."
He rolled up his sleeve and showed injection marks on his arm to the camera. "I have problems with my eyes and nose, I'm getting old as well."
Answering a question about his possible return, he asserted that he will come back to Pakistan and 'does not wish to be buried in New York city'.
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