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User Name: Ghayyur_Ayub
Full Name: Ghayyur Ayub
User since: 26/Jul/2007
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Asif Ali Zardari; has he changed?


Dr Ghayur Ayub


I am not a psychologist but as part of my training in cancer surgery I did have to assess people psychologically a lot of the time. The practice has stayed with me ever since. It was1993, when I first met Asif Ali Zardari. He had been brought from jail to PIMS for a medical a check up. I was Executive Director of PIMS at the time. That day my secretary informed me that the police had brought Mr Zardari to the hospital. I got up and went to the reception room where the police and the prisoner were waiting. This was my first encounter with a man whose name was linked with percentages. He looked thinner than his pictures in the newspapers or footages on the TV. I introduced myself to him. He very courteously, got up and extended his hands to shake mine. I heard the jingling sound of metal and saw shiny shackles around his wrists. I looked at him. There was a smile on his face. He shook my hands with a firm grip. I looked at the two policemen standing by his side; they remained unconcerned. Asif Zardari must have observed the look of surprise on my face as his smile changed into a soft laughter. I took one of the policemen aside and asked him to unshackle Mr Zardari. He was not willing to do so giving me his reasons. I promised to take full responsibility and said firmly that I would not allow his check-up if he remained in shackles.  


After that first check up he visited the hospital on several occasions for one reason or another and we kept meeting. On one occasion, the late Benazir Bhutto accompanied him. I found AAZ to be warm and friendly while BB was rather cold and distant. They both liked green tea. That was the time when political turmoil was on the rise and the political gurus were predicting changes. I remember an MNA and friend from Jehlum, Ch. Altaf Hussain (in the following year he became governor of Punjab) came to my office for a medical check-up and during our conversation he forecasted a change in the government. A few days later, when AAZ was brought to the hospital, I asked him about the rumours. He nodded his head in an affirmative manner; then smilingly he leaned forward and assured me that my position would be safe if his government came to power. "˜It's your friend Asif's promise' he said. That evening I met Ch Nisar at his home. He confirmed his reservations. Things went from bad to worse on political scene and a few weeks later Mr Nawaz Sharif along with Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan packed their bags.


Mr. Asif Zardari kept in touch until the PPP government came into power in October 1993. One evening, when I came home, there was a message on my answering machine. It was him thanking me for everything I had done for him and saying good bye. That was the last time I heard from him. The following week, when I entered the office, a grim-looking secretary told me that a notice had been issued and that I had been removed from my post. Asif's promise echoed in my ears. I tried to contact him but to no avail.


Time moved on. The percentage figure linked to him in his previous regime increased by a few leaps. His close buddy, the then President fell into an ISI trap and the second BB's government was terminated in October 1996. During the interim government of Meiraj Khalid, I became the Director General of Health. Mr. Asif Zardari was again put behind bars. He again contacted me through his private secretary. I was told he was not feeling well and had been admitted to Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi, complaining of backache and had developed urinary problem. It was reported, that they had found cancer cells in his urine and the treating doctor was suspecting cancer of prostate gland. The doctor recommended his treatment abroad. I was asked to asses his case. Cancer being my subject of interest, I visited Karachi and went through his medical record. I spoke to the relevant doctors including, Dr. Kasim Lakha, the Chairman of AKU. He had been in Paris at the time and had rushed back to Pakistan to deal with this case.  I also discussed the case with other oncologists both from Pakistan and the UK. All of them agreed that he needed further specific tests at AKU before he could be diagnosed as having prostate cancer. I heard nothing after that; I was not told if he was investigated further for cancer or not.


All I know is that in the following months newspapers reported that he had sustained injuries to his neck and tongue. Mr Zardari had accused the government of trying to kill him; the government said it was a suicide attempt. Someone told me that he was monitored and that he didn't know about it. If that was the case, the tape of his being tortured (or otherwise) may still be available somewhere. 


A few months later, he was transferred to PIMS and stayed there as a patient for three years until he was released and went abroad. When he was in PIMS his private secretary met me a few times and conveyed AAZ's good wishes. I reciprocated. I would have called on him but the then Executive Director strictly forbade me to do so. It was a few months later after he went to New York for medical reasons that a common friend mentioned him to me again. At that time, I was working with Mr Nawaz Sharif and Mr Shehbaz Sharif at the International Secretariat of PML-N in London. The common friend, who has a keen interest in spirituality, told me that he had had a four hour one on one meeting with Asif in NY in 2006. What he told me was mind boggling. According to him, a few years of solitary confinement had transformed AAZ into a spiritualist. This revelation did not surprise me as people can change during period of isolation but what took me aback was the next bit of news. He said that AAZ believed that he was going to play a pivotal role averting a future clash of civilisation; a topic that has been hotly discussed for many years. He linked his new role to the divine pertinence. That was the time when he was chased by Musharaf and his cronies at home and abroad in Switzerland, UK and Spain. No one at that time could have imagined that he would replace BB to lead the party or that he would form a government supported by all the major parties in Pakistan with the blessings of Western governments. The rapid changes that took place in the PPP party after the assassination of BB and the political turmoil that followed in Pakistan is beyond rational comprehension.


We all know that Pakistan is of strategic importance in the present inconsistent global politico-religious turmoil. And if there is an impending clash of civilisations in the world, Pakistan would become a pivotal spot to regress or aggress that clash. To do that, the country needs a leader who has the eyes of an eagle, nerves of steel, determination of a hunter, and yet placidity of a saintly heart. The spiritualist friend rang me after AAZ took over PPP and formed the government and reminded me of what he (AZZ) told him in NY. When I put the phone down, I was left wondering if it could be true. Was this man going to play a conciliatory role in Pakistan at national level, and a peace-making role to avert a clash of civilisations at global level? When he started recruiting people around him with devious past records I became sceptical. I rang my friend back with my cynical views. He laughed, and replied "˜God works in mysterious ways'. This time, when I put the phone down, I thought, that maybe Mr Zardari has been given a chance of lifetime but is loosing it fast. The big question every body in Pakistan is asking these days is; has Asif Ali Zardari really changed during the past years? It is said that deeds speak louder than words. Only time will prove if his deeds will correspond to those words he spoketh loudly in New York in 2006.  

The end  

 Reply:   I read your insightful article
Replied by(Usman_Khalid) Replied on (24/Jun/2008)
Dear Dr Ghayyur Ayub,
Assalam o alaikum
I read your insightful article with great interest. It reveals that Asif Zardari has become convinced of having sage like wisdom. Long incarceration has made him hard and insensitive to the environment around him; the disdain of his late wife made him bitter, vengeful but discreet. He is likely to pursue his objective to the bitter end.The stress is on the BITTER END. He will persist in his hostility to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry against whom he has taken a public stand. He will judge everyone by who stand by him in his 'war on the independence of the judiciary'. 
He is not going to play a role in a clash of civilisation of which he understands little. His simplistic view is that accepting Indian hegemony will end the clash in the sub-continent.  His obstinacy and insensitivity make him a danger to Pakistan as well as the PPP whose founder was a visionary and whose daughter was a crafty politician. He is neither. He is just delusional like the erstwhile prophet of the Qadianis. Perhaps he will become the founder an alternate faith like his role model -Pir Altaf Jussain. Who knows what will happen if the PPP and the people hesitate saying what they see. There is very little difference between a fakir (that he calls himself) and a delusional idiot that he actually is.
Warm regards
Usman Khalid.

 Reply:   Here is my reply to Dr. Mehdi
Replied by(Ghayyur_Ayub) Replied on (23/Jun/2008)
Here is my reply to Dr. Mehdi Haider
Dr Ghayur Ayub


Dear Sir,


Thank you for your candid remarks. I appreciated it. May I say a word or two?


  1. I have already read your article before you sent it to me. I went through it again. You wrote, "Consequently, the ball is in Asif Zardari's court now "“ he will have to rise above the narrowness of self-interest and self-preservation in the face of a looming national crisis." I wrote, "Mr Zardari has been given a chance of lifetime but is loosing it fast. The big question every body in Pakistan is asking these days is; has Asif Ali Zardari really changed during the past years?" Why don't I see dissimilarity between the two write-ups?
  2. You wrote, "it seems to me that you are promoting AZ." May be, I failed to convey the message I wanted to convey as English is not my first language, but please go through my article again and read between the lines. I did not promote AAZ. I tried to warn him like you did in your well written article.
  3. On spirituality, you wrote, "In the first place, "spirituality" is not something related to predictions about the future" Obviously, you have not read my articles on the subject before; otherwise you as a sociologist would have not commented on it so lightly. Let me give my definition of Spirituality, which I gave in my forthcoming book, 'Spirituality-a new dimension'.  I define spirituality as "a doctrine based on noble human acts, achieved through prescribed methodologies which put a seeker on a path that leads to the knowledge of God, Spirit and Soul." This definition separates spiritualists from charlatans by establishing the precondition of human values.
  4. Lastly, on the long march, may I ask one question? Was Ahmad Ali Kurd really that sick as to not attend the 'great finale' in Islamabad? After all, he spoke loudly through out the long march right up to Rawalpindi. How would you put that coincidence into 'the verdict implicit in the neurophysiology of the Long March'?


Kind regards


Dr Ghayur ayub

Replied by(webmaster) Replied on (23/Jun/2008)
I have read your article carefully and with a great deal of curiosity. Indeed it is a very interesting narrative, but if you will allow me to say, the writing is full of conceptual errors.
Dear Dr. Ghayur Ayub,
Greetings from Professors' Residence American University of Sharjah.
I have read your article carefully and with a great deal of curiosity.  Indeed it is a very interesting narrative, but if you will allow me to say, the writing is full of conceptual errors. 
In the first place, "spirituality" is not something related to predictions about the future (that's a cliche).  Secondly. since you seem not to have read social science, you have failed to understand how the American establishment works on future agendas.  It might not have occured to you that Asif Ali Zardari's presence in New York and his so-called "spirituality" may have an American connection.
Politics is a very complex and complicated field -- the worst part of it is that the actors involved are human beings and some of them act as magicians.  It all gets very, very difficult.  Social scientists like me try to understand this complexity through conceptualization, analysis and the study of evolving circumstances.  I don't know who said this, but here is a quote that's worth your careful consideration:   "People can lie, but circumstances don't."  Figure out now what is happening to AZ and to Pakistan. 
You seem to be a prominent person who has connection with all the important leadership in Pakistan.  Perhaps you can give them some advice based on rationality, logic and the consequences of one's actions.   Please forgive me for my observations, but it seems to me that you are promoting AZ.  The question is, should you, given the circumstances?
My latest article "The Neurophysiology of the Long March" follows.  If you could spare a few minutes, I would like you to read it.
Best of Regards,
Dr. Haider Mehdi

The Neurophysiology of the Long March

By Dr. Haider Mehdi


The  explicit message at the heart of the Long March to the ruling political establishment in Pakistan is this:  (a) restore the 60 judges of the apex courts including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, (b) tell Pervez Musharraf to resign and explain his personal political conduct to the nation, (c) transform and democratically revolutionize the present dictatorial political decision-making set-up (at national level as well as within the PPP) to a democratic decision-making structure, (d) conduct politics in a transparent manner and adapt ethical standards and  "political purism" without lying, fabrications and manipulative tactics, (e) respond to the masses' demands and respect the public mandate of February 18, (f) formulate an independent foreign policy distancing Pakistan from the disastrous American "war on terror" and, above all, (g) implement the expressed public agenda TODAY "“ not tomorrow!!!


In retrospective reflection of the performance of the PPP-led government in Islamabad during its first 100 days, it is quite evident that the leadership of the People's Party has deliberately refused to understand the very essence of the massive public mandate of February 18th against the preservation of the political status quo in the country.  The Pakistani people have voted for a revolutionary change -- and that is precisely what the PPP leadership is failing to enact.  In fact, the continuation of the prevailing status-quo, in every aspect of its national policies, has become the fundamental mantra of the party stalwarts. A political party that was once anti-establishment has, after ascendancy to power,  merged with and amalgamated into a pro-establishment cycle that any illusions of policy differences at the level of strategic political decision-making with Musharraf's regime have been completely obliterated.


It is amazingly surprising and disappointing that even the most brilliant minds within the PPP hierarchy have turned into poor political strategists at this crucial moment in the history of this nation.  There is no visible and important dissenting opinion within the party (let us not consider Aitzaz Ahsan as a PPP spokesperson).  Not one of the decision-makers in the People's Party is raising the vitally important question: Why isn't the party leadership restoring the judges in accordance with the agreed-upon parameters of the Murree Declaration to which the PPP is a signatory?


Asif Ali Zardari would be well-advised to fully grasp the fact that the entire Pakistani nation completely, clearly and conclusively understands that Law Minister Farooq Naik's "constitutional package" is NRO-focused and provides indemnity to General Musharraf and gives permanent legal cover to several of his unconstitutional actions (making them part of the constitution).  In addition, the people of Pakistan are perfectly aware that the top leadership of the People's Party has entered into a negotiated settlement with the Musharraf regime that was brokered by the US government. However, above and beyond these undisputed facts of tactics, maneuvers and political management by the PPP, it is important for Asif Zardari to know that this nation of gentle, generous, tolerant, accommodating and forgiving people do earnestly understand the human instinct for self-preservation and self-interest; they may be willing to forgive human errors provided their sentiments are respected and their demands are delivered without any further delay and manipulations.


Consequently, the ball is in Asif Zardari's court now "“ he will have to rise above the narrowness of self-interest and self-preservation in the face of a looming national crisis.  This is an opportunity for the entire PPP leadership to assume the historic stature of an honest, nationalistic, dynamic and democratic party and offer gallant stewardship to the Pakistani nation.  All they have to do is to restore the judges immediately through an executive order supported by a parliamentary resolution.  Doing this would change the entire political spectrum of present-day Pakistan.


The PPP leadership should also be confident that there are means other than the "constitutional package" to safeguard their legitimate interests.  One can clearly prove one's stated innocence in a court of law. There is always the possibility of national reconciliation based on political dialogue and conflict resolution by mutuality of discourse and discussion.  The important point is that the Pakistani nation can no more be held hostage to self-interests of any particular individual, institution or political party.


This is the verdict of the Pakistani public as expressed on February 18.


This is the verdict of the masses given at the conclusion of the Long March in Islamabad.


This is the verdict to secure Pakistan's future well-being and salvation.


This is the verdict implicit in the neurophysiology of the Long March and at the heart and nerve center of a prosperous and democratic Pakistan!!


Remember that Abraham Lincoln said, "Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish"¦"


Leaders, ignore the people's verdict and you shall perish!!



The Nation, June 18, 2008

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