Asifa Zardari (born 21 July 1956) is the son of a famous Pakistani industrialist Hakim Ali Zardari the chief of the Zardari tribe and the widower of the late former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whom he married on 18 December 1987. They had three children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar and Asifa.

Asifa Zardari served as a member of the National Assembly, and as Environment Minister during the second term of his wife's premiership. His last position in the government of Pakistan was as a senator until 1999 when the senate and assemblies were dissolved by Gen. Pervez Musharraf who took over the reins of the government in a coup against the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In 1990, Asifa Zardari was arrested on charges of blackmail, based on allegations that he attached a bomb to a Pakistani businessman, Murtaza Bukhari, and forced him to withdraw money from his bank account. However, the charges were dropped when he was released from prison in 1993 when his wife's Pakistan People's Party took power and forced the charges out.

Asifa Zardari was made the Environment Minister during Bhutto's tenure. During the final days of his late wife’s second premiership, just before her government was dissolved by the then president, Farooq Leghari, his brother in law Murtaza Bhutto was assassinated. He was subsequently arrested on murder charges in 1996. Again establishment pressure prevented a full investigation.

Asifa Zardari was kept in custody from 1997 to 2004 on charges ranging from corruption to murder. He was granted bail and released in November 2004 when a judge said the cases were all false, although allegations of pressure on the judge have also been made. However, he was re-arrested on 21 December 2004 after his failure to attend a hearing in a murder trial in Karachi. He was charged with conspiracy in the 1996 killing of a judge and his son. These charges coincided with his plans to launch massive protests in the country.

Asifa Zardari is currently living in Manhattan but also has a home in Dubai. He is suffering from diabetes, a spinal ailment, and heart troubles as a result of his prolonged imprisonment.

In August 2004, Asifa Zardari finally admitted owning a £4.35m estate in Surrey, England (including a 20-room mansion and two farms on 365 acres, or 1.5 km², of land), which the Pakistani authorities allege was bought with the proceeds of corruption. He and his family had long denied ownership of such property in the UK. Legal proceedings brought by the Government of Pakistan against Asifa Zardari to recover the sale proceeds of the property are continuing before the High Court of England and Wales. In October 2006, the English High Court dismissed Zardari's application to have the proceedings stopped on the basis that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. As of late 2007, Zardari is seeking permission to appeal that decision.

Asifa Zardari has spent a total of 11 years in prison. He says that the charges are politically motivated. Throughout this time Zardari's lawyer has been Farooq H. Naek who has played a major role in his release.

A Swiss investigating magistrate has amassed enough evidence, including the purchase of a diamond necklace, to indict Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto and Asifa Zardari on money-laundering charges tied to contracts with two Geneva-based companies. The magistrate, Daniel Devaud, decided not to bring the charges against Ms. Bhutto in Switzerland, but rather to ask Pakistani authorities to indict her. The Geneva magistrate has been conducting a wide-ranging inquiry seeking to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 2006. The money was allegedly stashed in Swiss banks.

On 30 December 2007 Asifa Zardari was selected to co-chairman of the PPP with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari .

Source: Wikipedia.org
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