Dr Asim innocent, corruption free: Zardari

NEW YORK: Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said here yesterday that corruption charges against former petroleum minister and his close aide, Dr Asim Hussain are ” unbelievable ” . He even can’t think of corruption and those accusing him must be ashamed of targeting an innocent man.

In an interview with a Pakistani news channel, Zardari said ‘Asim is incapable of corruption.

“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, he served the country as federal minister ” 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 let alone terrorists.”, Zardari said rejecting allegations against Dr Asim Hussain.

He also denied allegations of his party’s links with Lyari gang war leader Uzair Baloch.

“It was the PPP government which initiated 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 threat to the 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 Taliban.”

He claimed that after the APS massacre, 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.”

He claimed that at that time, interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had appreciated his stance in a note sent to him.

Rejecting speculation that he had left Pakistan in the wake of tensions with the establishment following his fiery rhetoric, 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’.

“I worked with everyone except Imran Khan. When Imran becomes a politician I will work with him,” Zardari said.

During his five years at the helm, Zardari claimed there was not a single allegation or scandal about him.

As president, he said he voluntarily surrendered his powers and passed them on to the premier, making the publicly elected representative the chief executive of the country.