Sunday, September 7, 2008
Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a controversial politician with little experience in governing, was elected president of Pakistan on Saturday. Describing his victory as “another step towards the transition to democracy”, Zardari said at in iftar hosted at PM Gilani’s residence: “I reiterate parliament is sovereign. This President shall be subservient to the parliament.” Flanked by daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa, he said, “We (took) revenge on the dictators in the form of democracy. She (Bhutto) taught us how to live, how to do politics...” Results from voting in the two houses of parliament, and three of four provincial assemblies, showed that Zardari had easily prevailed over his closest competitor. Zardari, 53, who spent 11 years in jail on corruption charges that were not proven, succeeds Pervez Musharraf, who resigned as president last month under the threat of impeachment. The elevation of Zardari to the presidency, where he will have great powers, including the ability to dissolve parliament and name the head of the Pakistani army, comes with the tacit approval of the United States.