Former president Asif Zardari, who is also president of PPP-Parliamentarians, much concerned over the investigations focused on former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah over the allotment of the Malir Development Authority land, has summoned a meeting of his senior party leaders.
Present are his sister Faryal Talpur, son [Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman] Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Senator Sherry Rehman, PPP MNAs Dr. Nafisa Shah – daughter of Qaim Ali Shah — Naveed Qamar, Khursheed Shah, Nayyar Bukhari, attorney Farooq H. Naek, and Nisar Khurro.
Zardari, deeply drawing on his 15th cigarette of the hour, begins the discussion, “Nafisa, this is a shame… as you know, I asked Bilawal to issue a statement that Imran Khan [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)] government has unleashed political victimization in the name of accountability.
“Bilawal, as I directed, said that we also support the accountability process; but political victimization under its garb is not tolerable. As I told him, Bilawal hit out that Imran is behaving as if he is still in opposition.
“Nafisa, now your father [Qaim Ali Shah] who is such a fine man is being put through this ordeal. It is nothing but to get me!
“Imagine a eighty-five year being put through this… I know our Shah Sahib… our wadday sayeen [respected elder] is a brave man. Who can forget his bold declaration that ‘age is just a number: I am still young’!
“Now imagine, this great man… loyal to the utmost to the Bhutto family… an old school believer in sexually transmitted democracy… if he could, he wouldn’t even sneeze without my permission… a former Sindh chief minister… and he has to file an application for pre-arrest bail in the Sindh High Court.
“This is two-pronged NAB [National Accountability Bureau] and the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] attack against me, my family and our party leaders is most alarming. Our leaders are facing money laundering and corruption charges and of course, this inquiry into the 10-year record of the Sindh government.”
Zardari continues, “This vendetta launched by Imran Khan seems to be a long-term thing… you know he has been cricketer… I mean a fast bowler too. He has the same instincts to keep sending bouncers to oblige batsman to give in.
“Now Murad [Ali Shah], in a nutshell why is our great Shah Sahib being rattled?”
“My respected and beloved leader, NAB is investigating, what they call the ‘illegal’ allotment of the Malir Development Authority land, and our great Shah has been named as one of the accused.
“NAB wants to question him at their Karachi office about the transfer of thousands acres of land in Malir. NAB is also investigating 19 corruption cases against some of our Sindh VIPs.”
Zardari, now on his 22nd cigarette speaks, “There should be some sense. Our Qaim Shah has served as the chief minister of Sindh three times. But let me digress. Exactly what is land for when you cannot do anything with it? Imagine you have a horse and you are not riding it. Soon it will become restless and cranky. Similarly there was this tract and it was getting bored. Qaim Shah being a caring person, transferred these lands for productive use.
“This NAB, FIA, and even Imran Khan need to understand that land needs to be let off instead of being tethered; and our Qaim Shah did such service. And he did the right thing by refusing to appear before NAB and he also raised reservations over the bureau’s investigating officer… yes, this whole NAB, FIA, Supreme Court apparatus is simply targeting us… in fact merely to get me.
“What can we say when the prime minister is threatening NAB to take action solely for victimizing the opposition.”
Zardari, signaling Sherry Rehman to light his cigarette, sighs and adds, “I only wish Maulana Fazlur Rahman would have listened… I wish Nawaz Sharif would have listened and voted for our man, Aitzaz Ahsan as president… yes, but only if I had not approved the Eighteenth Amendment Bill that stripped off presidential powers. I wish Aitzaz was there and this 18th was not there… Imran Khan and his government would have long gone and taken with him all this accountability drama. Imran is not even a preteen in politics. Money is the lifeblood of politics, and Asif Zardari knows how to make it.”