Published: Mon 25 Mar 2024, 10:16 AM

Political Maestro Asif Ali Zardari Returns to Presidency Again

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

It is, undoubtedly, a remarkable comeback orchestrated by a visionary political mind to reach the highest pedestal of power

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has been sworn in as the 14th President of Pakistan, officially taking over as the head of the state for a historic second time. He is one of the four democratically-elected presidents to have completed their five-year constitutional term in the country.

Zardari has made history by becoming the only Pakistani politician to be elected president for a second time. Revered by his supporters as politically farsighted, he is also the first who left office with a guard of honour. Zardari’s political dexterity and ability to outwit his opponents, however, are the reasons for his relevance and longevity in power politics of Pakistan.

A figure of grudging respect for his tenaciousness, even critical observers accept that no one does power politics better than Asif Ali Zardari. He has gone from being a pariah in politics to becoming its undisputed kingmaker.

Zardari’s style of politics has kept currency in the power corridors despite the many sociopolitical changes the country has witnessed since the last time he occupied the presidency. It is, undoubtedly, a remarkable comeback orchestrated by a wise political mind to reach the highest pedestal of power by a fair degree.

First Term Achievements

Economic development: President Zardari had the distinction of presiding over an unprecedented transition between elected governments — a remarkable accomplishment indeed. He played an instrumental role in the economic development of the country by initiating mega projects such as China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, and Thar Coal Power plant, among others. These projects have proved to be the game changers not only for Pakistan but for the entire region.

In addition to CPEC, President Zardari started the implementation of the grand project of generating electricity from Thar coal, which is going to become the energy hub of Pakistan today. Thar coal can provide 25,000 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan for a hundred years. This is also a project that will change the fate of Pakistan.

Poverty alleviation: President Zardari took many steps to alleviate poverty in the country and to provide relief to the working classes. He started the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), which is the grand initiative in Pakistan’s history. The success of this programme is that it was not only appreciated by the world but also continued and expanded by the successive governments.

Women empowerment: President Zardari took numerous steps to empower women. Five per cent quota was set for women in jobs; allotted land to women farmers and enacted legislation to protect women from violence and harassment. During his presidency, five per cent quota was also allocated for minorities in jobs and their rights.

Human rights protection: He also made legislation for the protection of the constitutional guarantee of human rights at the centre and in the provinces. Even today, to deal with the challenges faced by Pakistan’s economy and its politics, all the political forces of Pakistan and the state institutions look at Asif Ali Zardari.

Constitutional amendments: Under his guidance, the Parliament passed the 18th Constitutional Amendment by unanimous vote, which allowed his constitutional powers to be clipped. This was a great achievement. President Zardari not only gave more autonomy to the Federating units with this constitutional amendment but also took steps to end the feeling of deprivation among the smaller federal units.

He also approved the FATA Reform Bill so that these tribal areas can be administratively brought within the constitutional boundaries of Pakistan.

Drawing his power from being the chairman of the then ruling party (Pakistan Peoples Party), Asif Ali Zardari virtually ran the government from the confines of the President House. He demonstrated a remarkable ability to enhance diplomatic relations, particularly with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, notably the United Arab Emirates. Building upon the historical ties established by the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, President Zardari is strategically positioned to further solidify these connections and foster stronger and lasting bonds with the GCC states.

His astuteness in diplomacy extends beyond the Gulf region, as he will envision a broader geopolitical landscape where Pakistan could play a pivotal role. Recognising the importance of China, the United States, Afghanistan, and Iran in the global and regional arena, President Zardari will seek to cultivate relationships that benefit Pakistan economically, politically, and strategically.

He is expected to exhibit a rare blend of foresight and pragmatism, harnessing Pakistan’s historical ties while embracing new opportunities for collaboration. His adept diplomacy extends beyond traditional alliances, embracing emerging powers and fostering reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

Foreign Investment

One of President Zardari’s notable strengths lay in his capacity to attract foreign investment, a vital component in revitalising Pakistan’s economy, which has been grappling with numerous challenges. By leveraging his diplomatic skills and personal connections, President Zardari is ideally placed to attract investors and encourage economic growth, thereby alleviating the country’s economic woes and steering it towards prosperity.

Under Zardari’s leadership, Pakistan is expected to witness a proactive engagement with regional and global stakeholders, fostering cooperation and mutual understanding. His vision transcends borders, emphasizing the significance of collaboration and dialogue in addressing common challenges and pursuing shared goals and objectives.

An architect of the move, President Zardari is sure to leave a lasting legacy of dynamic diplomatic marvels and strategic achievements, thus laying the groundwork for future leaders to build upon and further strengthen Pakistan’s position in regional and global arena alike.

Zardari’s legacy transcends his tenure, serving as a testament to the power of visionary leadership in navigating the complexities of global politics and steering nations towards prosperity amidst adversity. It will be interesting to see how the arrangement will pan out. However, all of his faculties will be required by the new set-up if it hopes to succeed in achieving its goals.

Today, the newly-elected president is looking forward to taking all stakeholders in the Parliament to lead the country towards growth and prosperity.

By leveraging his diplomatic skills and personal connections,President Zardari is ideally placed to revive economy and invite investors, thereby alleviating the country’s economic woes and steering it towards prosperity.

More news from Supplements