President Asif Ali Zardari’s 4 years in office and its impact on Pakistan -by Syed Zahid Bokhari

Pakistan has become so accustomed to government overthrows and martial law being imposed that from the first day the Pakistan People’s Party came into power, political pundits were certain of President Zardari’s ousting sooner or later, but surprisingly and impressively, the man that defied all odds is still on the chair and working towards completing a full term.
Many might not agree with many steps taken by the President and in a true democracy, that is always most certainly the case. The Americans looked towards Barack Obama and chanted ‘Yes We Can’, but little has changed for the common man in what is termed to be ‘The most powerful nation on Earth’.
Instead of making attention seeking promises, President Zardari actually took many steps, that were termed to be unfavourable by many, at a time when Pakistan was literally on the verge of being declared a ‘failed state’. Many might not realise, but Pakistan is not what Greece and many other countries are today ,being purely due to those tough decisions that will eventually prove to be fruitful.
The biggest achievement of President Zardari’s government and tenure in office is without a doubt that in these four years, not a single individual has not been able to prove any sort of corruption or misuse of power by the Head of State, while enemies of democracy continue to use past, unproven incidents, as their backing in criticising Asif Ali Zardari. On the other hand, there are no political prisoners as well, but for the first time, the nation has witnessed the ousting of a democratically and unanimously elected Prime Minister, which the President humbly abided by and did not do what others had done in the past, like orchestrating an attack on the country’s highest court.
Being the first democratic government to be closing in on its completion in Pakistan’s history is one thing, but the fact that the President has taken all stakeholders on board, where needed and even where not, is certainly something to be praised. His attitude towards those who blame him for every wrong in Pakistan is also undeniably admirable as there isn’t a single moment where he may have come out and used the same language for the opposing forces. Instead, President Zardari remains calm and continues to work towards the country’s progress.
Having spent seven-plus years in jail without any conclusive proof to support his lockup by the superior courts, President Zardari continued to work for the people when coming into office instead of personally targeting those who were against him at the time and instead, took them on board for the betterment of the nation. Not playing the politics of confrontation, President Zardari has introduced a whole new type of politics in this country, and it has unquestionably changed the landscape for the better.
The energy crisis, serious problems in Baluchistan, the unforgiving situation of natural disasters is Sind, terrorism in KPK, and case after case in high courts from Punjab, President Zardari did not move an inch from his stance of promoting politics of reconciliation and forgiveness. Giving away his powers of dissolving the assembly and many more that proved to be hurtful to the democratic process in the past, to the democratically elected representatives was another unprecedented step in Pakistan’s history.
Turning Pakistan into a social welfare state through a one-of-a-kind Benazir Income Support Program, by providing means of creating sources of income for people instead of just handing out money along with making the people of Pakistan actual stakeholders in the public organisations through the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme, just goes to show how close the President is with the public and lower income families of this nation.
Fixing the economy was and remains to be the top most priority for President Zardari, seeing how the foreign reserve has hit record highs from being at its lowest point following a transition from dictatorship to democracy in 2008.
While there is no denying that Pakistan’s power crises cannot be solved for another 5-10 years along with terrorism, pressure from India and the U.S. President Zardari seems more confident and determined to counter all problems that the nation faces as the country prepares for fresh general elections, which again the President has promised to hold on time, unlike his predecessors.
As the future of Pakistan seems to be brighter than ever, which for some political actors may seem hard to admit, it indisputably looks like democracy is in fact, the best revenge.

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