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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ikram Sehgal: Wily Zardari Will Backout

Will Zardari risk the declaration of his assets, a must for the presidential office? If he declares all his wealth, and the taxes on it paid inside and outside Pakistan, the question will arise how he accumulated all this wealth. Transferring of wealth by clandestine means can bring international charges of money-laundering. And if he does not declare all his assets, he will be subjected to intense scrutiny by the western media – and even investigators, the most lethal being the free-lance ones. The Financial Times has already unearthed something scathing about his mental health. While Asif Zardari exudes confidence in brazening this out, my guess is he will opt out. He will not risk it! Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui has no such albatross around his neck to contend with, on those counts alone, honesty and integrity, he will give Zardari a run for his money (no pun intended). In the crucial meeting on Aug 25, PML-N legislators forced Mian Nawaz Sharif to dump the deal with Zardari, not only because of foot-dragging on the judiciary but because of the "stigma" of voting for him. What happens with Talpur fronting and Zardari having the remote control? He can then tell the PML-N he sacrificed his own plan in the face of overwhelming support in order to save the Coalition and satisfied his brother Mian Nawaz Sharif.


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