New Pakistani Prime Minister "Mr. 10 Percent"

The widower of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has won the election to be the country's next president, Pakistani media reported Saturday.

Four years ago, Asif Ali Zardari was languishing in prison, derided throughout Pakistan as "Mr. 10 Percent" because of the numerous corruption allegations against him. He spent 11 years in prison after state prosecutors filed graft and embezzlement charges dating back to the 1990s when Bhutto was prime minister. The perception sticks.

"He is the most corrupt man — 'Mr. 10 Percent,' " says engineer Raheel Rehman, 27, using a nickname that stems from accusations Zardari took a cut from government contracts while his wife was in office.

"It's not as bad as it looks — it's much worse," politician Imran Khan says. "Here we were hoping for a transition to democracy. Now we'll have an even more incompetent dictatorship."

Judging by his words, Zardari "definitely wants to be Washington's man" on terror issues, says Christine Fair, a South Asia analyst for the RAND Corp., a think tank based in California. She said Zardari's tough talk "sounds suspiciously like" former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, who the White House considered a key ally until he resigned last month as Zardari's party prepared an impeachment case against him.

No comments: