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The Will

11 February, 2008

By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


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Recently only one page out of  the purported seventeen  pages of the BB’s will was made public, and it  has created a furore not only in Pakistan but also on the horizons much beyond. A lot of heat is generated for and against it in the local and international print and electronic media discussing its edict, intentions and appropriateness. The other pages of the will have not been disclosed on the plea that they deal with the family matters and personal belongings, properties and wealth of the deceased leader. This is not very convincing as the very purpose of a will is to inform all as to how the departed soul wanted his/her  moveable and immovable assts to be distributed among the heirs. There should be nothing secret about it unless there is something in it that is to be kept away from the government and the public. After the death of a person, the will becomes a public property and not a personal document. If the will is expected to be binding (even morally) on the members of peoples party, then it should have been in the custody of her lawyer, duly signed and sealed, and should have been read out publicly by her lawyer as an official will. This is particularly more so in the case of a leader of Benazir Bhutto stature who belonged more to the people and the party than to the family. A page out of it should not have been in the custody of her beneficiaries and read out by the 'interested parties'. In my opinion that piece of paper had no legal or moral value and people of Pakistan are simply being emotionally blackmailed in this regards.

Anyway,  I have a copy of this one page ‘will’ in front of me and a number of questions come to my layman mind about it. The legal brains might have many more.

The page is handwritten on an ordinary lined notepad paper and is neither numbered nor signed by any witnesses. Though it is dated 16 October 2007, it does not show the place it was written and signed at. The question arises, are the other 16 pages also on similar stationary and handwritten?  If yes, are those numbered? If yes, why this page is not numbered and how could one claim it to be part of the overall 17-page will?

There is a strong possibility that in view of the BB’s substantial properties and other assets spread over various countries – Pakistan and abroad - and governed by the different laws of those lands, a great care must have been taken in drafting the will or  wills to meet the different legal requirements of each of these different countries.  As such, solicitor(s) of great international repute must have been engaged to frame the will or the wills which logically must have been reduced to writing by typing – computer printing etc. and not all hand written by the late BB herself. Similarly, normally such legal documents are on some formal legal stationery  such as the revenue stamped papers or the personal/company/family letterheads etc.. The will(s) must have also contained the customary opening phrases like,  I – so and so – in complete possession of my faculties and senses --- out of my free will – and without any fear or coercion – do hereby bequeath  etc. etc.

If the above is so, then this single page made public cannot be said to be the part of the 17-page will. At best it could be called a Directive or a Memo, addressed to the Pakistan People Party as is suggested by its heading which is also underlined in a typical officious manner.  The text of the Memo again leaves me with some perplexing thoughts.  For example its opening sentence reads, “To the officials and members of Pakistan Peoples Party I say that I  was  honoured to lead you.” Why ‘was honoured to lead ’, and not ‘am honoured to lead’? She was most certainly alive when she penned the memo.. Or, was the Memo written posthumously on her behalf and the writer succumbed to the past tense subconsciously, knowing her to be dead?   Again its 3rd paragraph says,  “I would like my husband Asif Ali Zardai to lead you in this interim period until you and he decide what is best.” Now what is this interim period and who are ‘you’?  Apparently by ‘interim period’ she meant the period between her death and some election within the party to decide the future leadership, but who are the ‘you’?  Are they the CWC, the central and provincial office bearers or all party members?  The memo is addressed to the, “Officials and the members of PPP”. So how can a few  present on the 29th December decide what they did?  Asif Zardari is not appointed in the memo to be the life Chairman. Nor, was he authorised to pass on the mantle of the Chairmanship of the party to his 19 year old son - Bilawal – in spite of changing his name to a Bhutto. Or, could he?

End.

Reader Comments:

Last Will Last Testimony Before Feb 2008 Election

A week before election on February 18,2008 the last will and testimony of Political Party Leaders and President Musharraf should been read to disclose Economy upgrading of Pakistan without Pakistan having a joint Chief of staff US Admiral Mike Mullen disclosing that Pakistan NUKE is in safe hand as if there no intention of having an election .Please tell us if President Musharraf have been allowed to return home and Election is going to be held as planned or if there is no more Pakistan ?

B_Lal, Hungary - 11 February, 2008

Is This Really a Democracy

I think we all know that democracy is better than anything else out there. But can we call this democracy-I don't think so. We are still being governed by feudal lords in the name of democracy or by Generals or in some places by islamist mullahs. God help us.

Arshad Ali, Pakistan - 11 February, 2008

Zardari's Will.

This Will is nothing more than a slam dunk piece of paper.That Zardari prepared to take control of the party.
The rest we can all look up
if he becomes Pakistan's next
Prime minister?

Khalid Rahim, Pakistan - 12 February, 2008

God Willing Inshallah Pakistan will get through

Pakistan got through push and pull tug of war between the civilian and military. At creation in 1947 using Fertile land agriculture 2 universities a tiny movie industry with few rivers Pakistan went to compete with India and managed to balance democracy, a theocracy military. Pakistan did very well.
Pakistan should model themselves to Turkey.Look at their achievements . Few things has not been achieved to transform Pakistan into vibrant society yet with state institutions adequate ministries proper county municipal corporations using Islamic infrastructure and western due the medieval Europe and India Punjab meddling Breaking the rule of law, the state institutions disrupting national integration resulting in creation of mujahedin since fight with soviet invasion then Medieval European soldiers still fighting Turkey European Roman Empire converted to Islam and expanded to Iran Pakistan Europe Russia to Indonesia and Malaysia. British tried and now Alliance in Afghanistan and IHK would not give up. The way to go is democracy industry mfg stock exchange Nuke Plants and via democratic process involving national elections, parliamentary resolutions and a referendum. The illicit Oil sheiks with veils tried to create none secular Turkey which great Former Roman General Attarturk fought back defeating Medieval European who created ww1- current turmoil in Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq in pursuit to live off now Iran asset.MA Jinnah founder of Pakistan had inherited sindhi Punjabi Bengali Farsi pushtu and Urdu people. Even though MA jinni pretended to use Urdu as balancing act at home and Hundred languages India with Sanskrit Hindi where Urdu was trying to bridge communication gap in both India and Pakistan via Bollywood movie Industry letting Nature design its course.Mohammad Ali Jinnah first joined Congress-led government in Indian Tehreek against British via NWFP then joined Muslim League created in Bengal.At creation he created mandate to whip up parliamentary support for himself Used Urdu for all in Pakistan India and E Bengal States with hundreds of dialects.Due to conflict of interest the power hungry leaders governor-generals, presidents and army chiefs civilian governments created judiciary democracy and even Communism in West Bengal ( still in force).India Punjab where Muslims disappeard in 1947 had even Khalian wala Amritsir massacre with arrival with Canada and Queen Victoria .Khalian wala means scalping and de-skinning N American style.Since 1971 struggle continues to loot Muslim resources of Pakistan Iran Iraq and OIC countries amid none existent democracy judiciary and missing factories steal mills Road maps local Municipal corporations Ministries of development in Pakistan due to disrupted elections with nearby medieval Europeans still fighting to regain Istanbul Iran Iran Syria and Opec oil in so called a need to maintain standard of living of Cowboys Sheriff and robbers of Gold dust oils .


Z Billo, Pakistan - 12 February, 2008

WILL

Writer of the article is absolutely right that WILL becomes a public property and not a personal document as treated and used by Zardari and PPPP members. They are all educated people and must know what they are talking about. How come a page which suits them personally is made public and not the entire WILL? ON THE SUBJECT electronic media has played a very honest role and made aware to the readers that its wrong what Zardari has done. Still its time to disclose and make public the WILL of BB so people know what and how much illegally accumulated wealth lady has left behind for the family.

Mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 14 February, 2008

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