Profile: Asif Ali Zardari

06:06 PM | 17 Jan, 2024
Profile: Asif Ali Zardari
Source: File Photo

Asif Ali Zardari is a Pakistani politician who is serving as co-chairperson of Pakistan People's Party (PPP). He has a mercurial political career who has taken many dramatic turns, suffered several personal and political setbacks but sustained to the highest rank of presidency. He served as the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013. He is the widower of twice-elected prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto. He was a member of the National Assembly from 2018 to 2023. 

Asif Ali Zardari’s early life and education

Asif Ali Zardari was born in Karachi on 21st July 1956 to Hakim Ali Zardari. He grew up in Karachi and completed his early education at St Patrick's School. According to his official biography, he graduated from the Cadet College Petaro in 1972. He is also the alma mater of late General (r) Pervez Musharraf. 

Wedding with Benazir Bhutto and children 

Asif Ali Zardari was married to Benazir Bhutto on 18th December 1987. It was an arranged marriage where a huge gathering of 100,000 people attended their marriage. He had three children including two daughters, Aseefa and Bakhtawar, and one son Bilawal. 

Challenges confronted as President of Pakistan 

Asif Ali Zardari confronted the most trying challenges as the president of Pakistan during his tenure from September 2008 to 2013. Some of the biggest challenges can be glanced at:

  • Energy crisis
  • Fragile economy
  • Ever-growing growing militant threat
  • A turbulent relationship with the US
  • An uneasy relationship with the military and nationwide flooding
  • Unstoppable insurgency in the south-West borders
  • Osama Bin Laden’s killing by US special forces 
  • US-Pak Army stressed relations due to US drone strikes 
  • Pakistan was hit by numerous suicide bombings - some directed against military, political targets and some more sectarian in nature. 
  • Top leaders Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan opposed President Zardari's support for the US and NATO in the battle against Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
  • PPP-Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was also forced to leave out of office in 2012 after the Supreme Court convicted him of contempt for failing to pursue a corruption case against the president.

Asif Ali Zardari’s controversial political career 

Asif Ali Zardari has undergone a very controversial career since his marriage in December 1987 to the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. During Benazir Bhutto’s 2nd tenure in PM House, Murtaza-Zardari rivalry destabilised politically which ended after Murtaza Bhutto’s murder on 20th September 1996. Later, he was arrested on charges that included corruption, money laundering, and murder. He was imprisoned from 1997 to 2004 against these charges. He complained that he was tortured during prison. He took the PPP to victory in general elections after his wife's death in 2008.

Later, he played a pivotal role with political opponents to force President Pervez Musharraf to resign from presidency. He was criticised for visiting Europe at the time when the worst flood hit Pakistan in 2010.

In November 2011, he had to face the worst criticism by the resignation of Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani over Memogate scandal. Both Asif Ali Zardari and Haqqani denied all the charges over drafting a controversial memo. They were allegedly sought US military help against a possible military coup in Pakistan.  

Raised slogan of ‘Pakistan Khappay’

Asif Ali Zardari raised the slogan “Pakistan khappay” after the death of Benazir Bhutto in 2007. This was a time when it was feared that separatists in Sindh could capture the anger at BB's demise. A master of handling difficult scenarios, it is not out of nowhere that people coined the slogan, “Eik Zardari sab pa bhari”. 

Asif Ali Zardari showed a remarkable talent in making deals with political opponents including Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry’s of Gujrat and the MQM.

Asif Ali Zardari’s significant stature

Asif Ali Zardari held the most significant stature as political leader of Pakistan.

  • In 1993, when then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan sacked the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari was escorted from the prison straight to the presidency where he was sworn in as a minister in the interim government.
  • He served as a member of the National Assembly from 1990 to 1993—during which time he was periodically released from prison to attend sessions. He served as minister of the environment during 1993–96.
  • He also served as Senator from PPP in 1997.
  • He served as MNA from 1993 to 1996 and performed as minister of the environment during 1993–96.
  • He also served as federal minister for investment (1995–96) in Benazir Bhutto’s 2ndgovernment.
  • He was honored and graced as 11th President of Pakistan during September 2008 to September 2013, constitutionally granted 5 years tenure.
  • He served as MNA after 2018 general elections.

Asif Ali Zardari passed 18th Amendment 

During Asif Ali Zardari’s presidency era, the 18th Amendment in the Constitution was passed by the parliament on 18th April 2010. Eventually, the Parliamentary democracy was once again restored in the country which rendered indebted to Asif Zardari’s democratic and reconciliatory mindset.

Asif Ali Zardari’s political role after Presidency

Asif Ali Zardari has been playing a very significant role for PPP after his presidency. He entered the National Assembly as one of the leaders of the opposition in last general Election 2018. He was arrested along with other leaders like Nawaz Sharif in June 2019 and released on bail in December 2019. He had to face charges of money laundering during Imran Khan’s government. He re-organized, re-structured and re-strengthened PPP and guided Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on pressing national and international issues.

Asif Ali Zardari contests 2024 Election 

PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s has submitted his nomination papers from NA-207, Nawabshah for upcoming 2024 Elections.

The writer is a staff member.


Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 27 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 27 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.4 282.3
Euro EUR 303 306
UK Pound Sterling GBP 351.5 355
U.A.E Dirham AED 76 76.7
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.2 75
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 742.91 750.91
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.82 39.22
Danish Krone DKK 40.56 40.96
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 905.46 914.46
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.49 59.09
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.05 175.05
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.36
Omani Riyal OMR 725.54 733.54
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.74 77.44
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 27.04 27.34
Swiss Franc CHF 317 319.5
Thai Bhat THB 7.76 7.91


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