Former president and now a member of the National Assembly Asif Ali Zardari, his children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, and his sister Faryal are in a meeting with their lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan, Sardar Latif Khosa and Farooq Naik.
Turning toward them, Zardari said, “You handled the Ayyan Ali and Dr. Asim Hussain cases so deftly. I am sure you will get this small matter of the so-called fake accounts case … all this Anwar Majeed … Khawaja Salman Younis … Omni … Hussain Lawai … Summit Bank … out of the way too.
“Aitzaz, I know you put up a strong defense against the formation of the Joint Investigation Team but you have to stress that at issue is 35 billion … Pakistani rupees … even in dollars, it is what less $300 million. The earth is not falling for it!
“Thank God, our party is not like Sharifs’ party. Did you see them raising slogans and banners for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam in the assembly but not even a single sigh for poor Hanif Abbasi, when all he did was sell 500 kg of ephedrine to narcotics smugglers.
“And see what I did for Ayyan when they saw half-a-million dollars in her carryon on her way to Dubai. I assigned no less than you, our great Governor of Punjab and our secretary general, Sardar Latif to plead her case. We got her free. Even her air ticket was purchased from Bilawal’s account. Pakistan Peoples Party never lets its friends down.
“Even they are asking why Faryal sent Rs. 20 million to our brother Tappi… Owais Muzaffar in Dubai.
“I am hearing that Imran Khan is keeping the interior ministry himself to personally oversee what he describes as corruption … I say, he is naïve … tell me who works for free … why should public service be free?
“Asif Zardari knows the world. Did you see the voting for National and Punjab assembles speakers … I did not support Shahbaz Sharif. I am sure that every member of Imran’s party knows this.
“Let us see what happens when Imran Khan takes office and assumes charge of the interior ministry… you know Farooq that money is a challenging thing. And you know how Imran has polluted the whole atmosphere.
“I find now even Malik Riaz is chirping. When I was president, he told me that he gifted Bilawal House Lahore … sometime he would say that it is gifted to me and sometimes said it is uncle Riaz’s gift to Bilawal.
“All of sudden, he has started airing numbers that the house was Rs. 480 million, but I have only paid him Rs.170 million, and I owe him. What nonsense… a gift is a gift! Riaz told me that he undervalued this Rs. 1 billion property so we can declare cheaper property on the election form!
“But he is dealing with Asif Ali Zardari. I made sure no document is available on the Federal Board of Revenue’s record to show who actually owns this property.
“Caution is however, needed. FBR’s Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) directorate of Inland Revenue is probing how a company … you remember we only declared rupees one million as Zardari Group’s capital …with such a small portfolio could afford to pay for the sprawling Bilawal House in the capital of the Punjab province. Of course there is no sale or transfer deed, which can settle the question of ownership beyond any doubt.
“Aitzaz, Farooq and Latif, I would be having a relaxing time in Dubai like my brother Tappi but I only came back because ruling Pakistan is Bilawal and his sisters’ birthright… I came back to lift the party’s morale.
“I wish, when I was president, I should have gotten teleprompters installed in the National Assembly. Now, I have to constantly chaperon Bilawal. I can’t have him seen reading his speech in Romanized Urdu from the wrong side. May be I should hire a hafiz to teach him memorization so he can memorize his speeches that he has to deliver, so I can go to Dubai pronto!
“So Aitzaz, Farooq and Latif, do you think my getting into parliament will be a political game changer for me? Even if I find a way to make accommodation with Imran, but with the Sharifs a nil, it won’t count. So how can we use Sindh … we have full control over Sindh, although we lost a big chunk of Karachi … to protect against all this nonsense called anti-corruption drive by Imran Khan? Street power … but Karachi is the only place where it could be done to some effect. But we don’t have Karachi.
“I was relaxed because Asma Jahangir had said that Imran Khan will not become prime minister in her lifetime. I must say that in dying, she sold us short.
“Aitzaz, Farooq and Latif, do we need another martyr in the family?” he concluded.