Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Report: Zardari Suffered From Mental Illness

There's an article from The Financial Times which states that Asif Ali Zardari, the man most likely to become Pakistan's next President, has been diagnosed with various mental illnesses including dementia.

This story is based in documents filed with the High Court in London when Zardari was fighting corruption charges against him by the Pakistani government. (http://www.financialtimes/com/cms/S/0/7c186dSL-72fo-11dd-983b-0000779fd18c.html)

It is worth noting that his disordered were likely caused during the time he was incarcerated in Pakistani jails on corruption charges for a better part of a decade. It is widely believed that Zardari was subjected to torture while in prison.

The psychiatrist who diagnosed Zardari, Dr. Steven Reich wrote:

He had difficulty focusing, concentrating and paying attention, is persistently sad, chronically anxious and apprehensive. He stated that he has had suicidal thoughts, but has not made any suicidal gestures.

Zardari has not commented on the article. However, Zardari's close ally Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's High Commissioner to London (which is essentially an Ambassador) did not deny the story and said Zardari's disposition was understandable given what he endured in prison.

My guess is that Zardari will still be elected Pakistan's next President on September 6th. If this, however, does become an issue for his supporters in the PPP then Zardari would withdraw rather than have his own deputies vote against him.

Zardari did have some good news. The Swiss have dropped money laundering charges against him. That should lift his spirits.

Of course, the question is if Zardari could not assist himself in court proceedings against him how can he be reasonably expected to govern Pakistan?

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