Zardari Vows Defiance As Crises Mount


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s embattled but defiant President Asif Ali Zardari used the fourth anniversary of the death of his wife Benazir Bhutto to ensure supporters he would not resign in the face of numerous crises building around him.

Zardari, who became president after the former prime minister was killed in 2007 following her return from self-imposed exile, is facing perhaps the greatest threat to the government.

In a jab at the Supreme Court, which is considering an investigation into a memo asking the United States for help against the country’s powerful military and which could implicate Zardari, he asked about the as yet unsolved case of his wife’s assassination.

“People ask what happened to Benazir Bhutto’s case,” he said. “I ask (Chief Justice) Iftikhar Chaudhry: what happened to Benazir Bhutto’s case?”

No one has yet been charged with her assassination at a huge rally outside Islamabad. Police estimated Tuesday’s crowd at more than 70,000.

Colorful banners sprouted from the throng, which spread out beneath the white, marble mausoleum that contains the bodies of Pakistan’s most famous political family.

Speaking from behind bulletproof glass, Zardari appeared relaxed and healthy, likely calm rumors of his ill health.