'The up-and-coming PPP emperor'
ISLAMABAD - Circumstances, if not personal desire, have pushed PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari to become a king rather a kingmaker.
It would appear that Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, who has been busy day and night since his arrival in the Federal capital on February 18th, has finally opted to become next Prime Minister of the country.
Party insiders told The Nation on Tuesday that Asif has also picked up lieutenant for the stopgap arrangement until he is able to make his way into the National Assembly.
For the interim period, Asif Zardari has short-listed probable candidates for what could termed as temporal premiership that includes names of two women and three men, all from Sindh.
Sources claimed the list included the names of Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Shahid Bhutto, Aftab Shahban Mirani, Dr. Fahmida Mirza and Faryal Talpur.
This list does not include any name from Punjab, as has been widely speculated, because none of the hopefuls from Punjab are ready to serve for the stop-gap period.
Sources said Asif’s move was aimed at surmounting the challenges he currently faces and the only way to do so was becoming Prime Minister himself.
“Why not? The iron man perhaps deserves more than this”, an insider quipped outside the Zardari House (wealth abode), which is located in F-8, adjacent to the same lane where most of country’s political elite live.
Asif Zaradi, sources claimed, had to face the most serious challenges since martyrdom of his beloved wife and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
“He is no more the person who was maligned and dubbed with different titles in the mid 90s. He is a changed man who has learnt the art of diplomacy as well as making the impossible possible,” he added.
The unpredictable Asif Zardari has not only been successful in foiling divisive attempts but has been successful in bracing the uphill task of keeping the party a vibrant political entity of the country.
He has been working fulltime to attain that goal, a source said, adding he has not only frustrated attempts of President Pervez Musharraf in sowing seeds of schism in the party but successfully maneuvered to counter these attempt by aligning the party with other elected democratic forces.
“One must give him credit for the manner in which he befriended past political foes”, the sources said while referring to the PPP’s coalition with the PML (N).
It was due to Asif that the era of enmity that started in 1988 has been translated into a long-term friendship with PML (N).
He had to undergo tremendous torture but remained steadfast in facing the charges leveled against him.
The witty Asif Zardari has intelligently come out of all the troubles he had been put into by all and sundry and for the past one hundred days, he has been successful in creating his loyal supporters in the party’s rank and file.
Still, keeping his political cards close to his chest, Asif Zardari, party insiders said, has been busy day and night in consultations with party cadres that had virtually made him first to none when it comes to national leadership.
Party sources further said that he is being pressurized by the party to opt to head the PPP-led government for several reasons, party unity being top on the list.