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September 7, 2008

Asif Zadari – Benazir Bhutto’s Widower New Pakistani President

Benazir Bhutto was murdered close to year ago by assassins. However, Pakistan has shown that her incredible spirit and political beliefs live on. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari was elected in the country’s presidential election. Bhutto’s widower plans to carry on her goal of complete democracy in Pakistan.

Even though the election was not a public vote, it shows that the leaders of Pakistan are still interested in the democracy that Bhutto wanted. Lawmakers in the two houses of the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies are the ones that put Zadari in office. The Pakistan constitution calls for a majority vote. The election commissioner said that Zardari received 481 votes while the other two candidates, Muhammad Saeed Uzaman got 153 and Senator Mushahid Hussain received 44 votes.

Zardari is a pro-American leader who will be in charge of a country that is viewed as a nuclear power and one that has experienced a resurgent of the Taliban. The footsteps of his wife are huge ones to fill. Zardari took over his wife’s party, Pakistan People’s Party after she died. The new president’s track record is not as clean as some of the other candidates and it seems as if he was elected in large part because of his dead wife. How he rules and if he can carry on her legacy remains to be seen.

Zardari was in jail on corruption charges for 11 and a half years at one point. One of his rivals, Hussain, was an aide to an ex-president and was representing Musharraf’s Pakistan Muslim League-Q. He was portrayed as a clean cut candidate that understood the middle class. Musharraf came to power after a bloodless coup. He later on resigned before the ruling coalition could impeach him.

Pakistan is at a crossroads it seems. There is no way to be sure of where the country is headed at this point. A suicide bomb went off as the voting was taking place in northwestern Pakistan. 25 people were killed, eight of which were police officers. Another eight-one people were wounded. This type of violence does not fortify political beliefs or get points across. The senseless violence of suicide bombings just makes turmoil worse.

So, the question is, is Zardari the right person for the presidency? It is a good question without a straight answer. Another good question to ask is what does “pro-American” mean and is that what Pakistan needs or wants? It is important to remember that every nation does not need or want what another one has. The American way of life is good but it is possibly much more inviting to outsiders that have not had it. There are positives and negatives in every form of government. We have seen how difficult the transition has been for Iraq. At this point it is not clear what type of government they have. All we know is that a leader from across the world thought that an American styled democracy as what Iraq needed.

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