Omar Waraich: If proved, these charges could prove explosive for Zardari

Share
Related Topics

If Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is anxious about his past returning to haunt him, he has betrayed no sign of it.

When the allegations by independent French investigators surfaced, government ministers reacted with contempt. Within the space of a few hours, Zardari loyalists issued a cascade of denials that their leader, or any other Pakistani official, had been involved.

The story itself has received relatively little play in Pakistan. Part of the reason lies in the fact that the local media's attention has been focused on the army's battles against the Taliban, and the cricket team's recent triumph. As a rule, Pakistani journalists are careful in reporting allegations that involve senior officials. Without concrete evidence, it is a risk that few can afford.

If such evidence were to emerge, however, the consequences for Mr Zardari's government would be explosive.

The President has already served 11-and-a-half years in jail, and earned the soubriquet "Mr 10 Per Cent", for allegedly salting away the spoils of power during his slain wife Benazir Bhutto's time as prime minister.

Mr Zardari has denied any wrongdoing. Among the charges to which he was linked were that he allegedly received kickbacks from the purchase of three French Agosta 90B submarines. At the time, Mr Zardari was serving as investment minister in his wife's second government.

But as one of his aides points out, he has the perfect alibi for 2002, the year the engineers were killed: he was in jail at the time. The original case against the jihadists has begun to fracture under judicial scrutiny. Could the trail lead, as the French investigators suspect, to dark forces within Pakistan's military establishment?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher Norwich

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Are looking ...

English Teacher, delightful Margate School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: An experienced and qualified Tea...

Health & Social Care / Science Teacher

£1 per day + Main Teacher Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Health and Soc...

ICT Teachers for perm roles following Oct resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: EU news, and other reasons to be cheerful

John Rentoul
The influx of hundreds of thousands of eastern European workers has significantly altered the composition of some parts of Britain  

Immigration is the issue many in Labour fear most

Nigel Morris
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker