By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMAAD: PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari made a bold confession on the Saudi soil on Sunday, saying “Yes, I am coward,” but hastened to add that he had valid reasons to justify his cowardice.
The admission was made in a mocking comment when Zardari referred to certain senior Pakistani journalists who once used to target him in the past and were finally convinced with his political moves and strategy. “They all are getting older with the passage of time.”
“Listen, in the given extraordinary situation, I cannot act like an emotional Brave Heart, as I have a much bigger responsibility of 180 million Pakistanis on my shoulders. I cannot behave like a rash bold man,” Zardari said. “Listen, I don’t like to see today Pakistanis facing the sorry situation which the whole world had witnessed in Bengal, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, so that is why I am a coward man.”
When he was talking to the Pakistani media at the Conference Place hotel before the departure of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to Pakistan, it was obvious that Asif Zardari was indirectly referring to many taunting comments published in the Pakistani media during the last couple of months.
Many of these comments had taunted Zardari for acting like a coward to save his skin from the wrath of the establishment and the Americans, who were not ready to allow him to do what the people and the media wanted.
The confession surprised journalists because none of them were expecting such words from the mouth of the new “kingmaker” of Pakistan.But, Zardari explained in detail that personal reasons had not made him think like a coward as there were more serious issues that were frightening him.
He said the rising poverty in Pakistan had made him a coward as his party was carrying the big responsibility of providing food and shelter to the poorest of the poor. He said he was afraid of the prevailing situation in Pakistan, as he could not afford to see the country face a situation which we all had seen in Bengal, Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam.
“We all have seen what happened with the people of these countries,” Zardari said. “I don’t want to be regarded as a bold man by ignoring all such fears which are on my mind.” But, he said, at a personal level, the Bhuttos never yielded before the forces of the establishment and dictators when they were put on trial.
He said the Bhuttos preferred to sacrifice their lives instead of bowing down before their tormentors. Zardari said not a single member of the ZA Bhutto family was frightened of the personal challenges and testing times in life.
“Even during such difficult times, we never sought any favour or tendered an apology to our tormentors as we preferred to fight and stay in jails for a long time instead of making compromises,” Zardari said.”We all have paid a heavy price for our defiance, but now I don’t want to be regarded as a brave heart just in the heat of the emotions.”
Zardari also pointed out that journalists were not doing enough research before writing on a subject. He pointed out that journalists in the past used to criticise him during the two governments of Benazir Bhutto.
“They all used to criticise me in their stories and analysis.” But, he smiled and said now as these journalists got older, they had started to appreciate his political strategy and the sagacity of Benazir Bhutto. He claimed that the rest of Pakistani journalists, too, would soon write good things about him, as they would gradually learn to appreciate his political strategies like their senior journalists.
The News, 11/6/2008