Zardari is a hard and nailed man with a slightly off-color outlook. Apart from leading a local polo team known as the Zardari Four and owning a cinema called Bambino in Karachi, his only claim to fame has been his marriage with the daughter of the east. That graceful Ms Bhutto, who was sadly assassinated by some loser many years back. Over the years Zardari has made institutional corruption a byword in the Pakistan political lexicon. Not that others are saints in the land of the pure but with a president as smug as him, everything else dwarfs. And now Zardari is visiting Ajmer.
How this latest religious urge emanated in Zardari cannot be deduced. In any case there is little religious about these mausoleum trips. They are at best a cultural affair. Something that is more traditional than theological. Although it is difficult to winkle truth out of Zardari, one would like to hazard a guess. The TV chaps in India are going to go on an overdrive over the next 24 hours: There you go, as you can see only four buttons in Zardari’s Gala-band are visible. One hole, a gaping crevice, is buttonless. Is that a hidden message to Manmohan Singh? That kind of poppycock.
On my way to office this morning, I browsed through the Times of India App. The first news, expectedly, was the carte du jour for Zardari. The spread includes, India’s best newspaper informed, jaitooni murg seekh, kareli dal gosht, tori bhujia, sarson ke phool, makai palak, paneer jalfrezi, avail, vegetarian shami, murg kofta makhni and sikandari khusk raan. Desserts will comprise gur ka sandesh, phirni and blueberry mousse. And we thought Zardari recently got a heart attack.
There are other necessary tidbits likely to submerge the subcontinent over the next day or so. Jawaharlal Nehru’s great grandson, a certain prince charming waiting to be India’s prime minister (sometime soon) shall meet Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s grandson, currently being groomed at Oxford to be Pakistan’s prime minister (when he comes of age). Comparisons will be drawn. Rajiv and Benazir. Indira Gandhi and ZA Bhutto et al. The fine pedigrees. Firang girl friends. Caviar with pals, in foreign lands, away from the toiling masses. High office. The dynasty curse shall continue.
Some right noises about Kashmir made in a hurry and a threat or two to Sharif brothers invoked, Zardari, aleck smart and hair gelled back for hours, lands in New Delhi. To break bread with the gentle sardar, who hasn’t slept for a week now after some newspaper spooked him with a nightmare report about a Pakistan style coup in 7 RCR, since rubbished by everyone and their uncle.
Zardari, as supreme commander of his country's armed forces, should have been in Siachen where more than a hundred of Pakistan's soldiers lie buried in ice, due to the screwed up policies of leaders, tucking into blueberry mousse, a thousand leagues away.