As reported by major foreign newspapers yesterday, Mr Zardari, co-chair of the Pakistan People’s Party, was diagnosed with a range of psychiatric illnesses, including dementia, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The illnesses were said to be linked to the fact that he has spent 11 of the past 20 years in Pakistani prisons fighting charges of corruption. He claims to have been tortured during his incarceration.
In March 2007 New York psychiatrist Philip Saltiel found that Mr Zardari’s time in detention left him with severe “emotional instability”, memory loss and concentration problems, according to court documents seen by the Financial Times.
Stephen Reich, a psychiatrist from New York State, said Mr Zardari was unable to recall the birthdays of his wife and children and had thought about suicide.
In my opinion, it is all a conspiracy to taint the reputation of Mr Zardari. Come on now people, how many of you are married men who actually do remember their wives birthday, huh? So if you forget missus’ birthday, should you be declared emotionally unstable? I think not.
Barring accountants, most people have very limited attention span and if Mr Zardari cannot concentrate for long, so what. Mrs Bandranaike has governed Sri Lanka with one eye and Mullah Umar has ruled Afghanistan with one eye and leg missing. Surely a little lack of concentration can be tolerated, isn’t it?
Almost all urban dwellers of Pakistan are chronically depressed and suffer from post trauma and post-post trauma disorder. With soaring oil prices, electricity wreaking havoc with your life and sanity and lack of decent public transport, everyone is depressed, why take it out on Zardari? That’s discrimination and against the constitution of Pakistan.
The only worrying mental illness mentioned in the list is dementia. What if a dementia afflicted Zardari forgot to put on trousers before meeting someone like Gordon Brown, the British tabloids will lynch the poor man. Lack of trousers can have even more disastrous consequences if it happens in front of Mehmud Ahmedinijad in Iran. The clergy there might issue a fatwa against our future president. That can be bad for not only bilateral relations between the two countries but can be a precursor of a regional war.
But we should not worry about it. If we, as a nation, can look the other way at his corrupt ways and lack of college education, a little dementia is not too much of deal. After all we have tolerated a head of state (Ghulam Mohammed between 1951 – 1955) who was paralysed and drooled in front of foreign dignitaries.