ISLAMABAD, Nov 8: The PPP Human Rights Cell central coordinator, MNA Fauzia Wahab, has apprised the Commonwealth secretary-general, Don Mckinnon, of the injustices meted out to Asif Ali Zardari, who has been incarcerated for the last seven years without any conviction.
The central coordinator, in a letter addressed to Commonwealth secretary-general, stated that Mr Zardari was arrested on the night of November 4, 1996, from Lahore.
The reason for his arrest was unknown and party leaders spent the next 10 days in finding out his whereabouts. No government agency was ready to divulge any information about him, she added.
The MNA said Mr Zardari’s family and his wife, the PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, had to endure a tormenting period of waiting, until Ms Bhutto threatened to file a case of abduction against Farooq Leghari, the then president of the country.
It was then confirmed that the PPP leader was with a government agency. A Habeas Corpus case was filed in the Sindh High Court and, in December, Chief Justice Mamoon Qazi ordered for Mr Zardari’s release, declaring his detention as illegal.
The PPP leader had not stepped out of the court, when he was again arrested. This time he was booked in a non-bailable offence and was charged for murdering his own brother-in-law Mir Murtaza Bhutto.
Ms Wahab said, since then, freedom remained a dream for Mr Zardari whose incarceration continued on one pretext or the other.
Regarding political vendetta against Mr Zardari, the MNA stated that cases after cases were filed against him.
In total as many as 13 cases, including six references, are pending against the PPP leader in various courts of the country. Allegations against him range from murder to corruption and smuggling.
The central coordinator said: “Mr Zardari is painted as the worst kind of a human being and all kinds of efforts are made to nail him down.”
Ms Wahab said accountability laws were changed seven times retrospectively to tailor the requirements of the NAB investigators. Judges were generously rewarded to give adverse judgments in cases against the PPP leader, she added.
The central coordinator said: “The official electronic media worked overtime in spewing out venom against him.
The print media would not let a day go by without mentioning his name in some misdeed.”
She said public opinion was deliberately manipulated against Mr Zardari and his public image was deliberately maligned.
Ms Wahab stated in the letter that the PPP leader was refused medical treatment, though he was very sick. His spinal condition, known as spondolytis, remains untreated. The weakening of spinal bones and pressures on his nerves had affected his height. Mr Zardari has a growth in his nose, which needs operation. High blood pressure and diabetes have become a part of his life, she added.
The central coordinator said the PPP leader had been on remand for 27 times, during which he was also physically assaulted and tortured.
She said Mr Zardari was denied the right to see his dying mother, though numerous appeals were made by his sisters. Parole was granted to the PPP leader, who was his mother’s only son, when she had gone into coma.
Ms Wahab said the PPP leader’s children were small when he was arrested.
“They were robbed of the love and affection of a caring father, and were deprived a normal childhood,” she added.
The central coordinator said all these emotional and physical tribulations could not deter Mr Zardari from standing on his principles. The seven-year long solitary confinement could not break his nerves and resolve, she added.