‘Zardari fit as a fiddle’

LAHORE: Commenting on a Financial Times article that alleged PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari of “suffering from severe psychiatric problems”, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, has said that Zardari is “now fit and well”.

The FT had cited court documents filed by Zardari’s doctors as saying that he was suffering from severe psychiatric problems as recently as last year.

The report said that Zardari was diagnosed with serious illnesses including dementia, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in medical reports spanning over two years.

In court documents seen by the FT, Philip Saltiel, a New York psychiatrist, had said in a March 2007 diagnosis that Zardari’s imprisonment had left him suffering from “emotional instability” and memory and concentration problems. Stephen Reich, a New York state-based psychologist, said Zardari was unable to remember the birthdays of his wife and children, was persistently apprehensive and had thought about suicide.

According to the FT, court records showed that Zardari had used the medical diagnoses to argue successfully for the postponement of a now-defunct English High Court case in which Pakistan’s government was suing him over alleged corruption.

The FT quoted Wajid as telling the paper on Monday that Zardari had subsequent medical examinations and his doctors had “declared him medically fit to run for political office and free of any symptoms.”

“While he was in prison … he was surrounded by fear all the time. Any human being living in such a condition will, of course, suffer from the effects of continuous fear. But that is all history,” he said.

Courtesy: daily times, 27/8/2008

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