Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is a noble soul. Now that you have survived this early morning jolt, please take a look at the irrefutable proof we have at hand. The president, a noble soul we insist, has asked the country’s National Database and Registration Authority to use his name as the father’s name in official documentation for children of unknown parentage. A large number of such children were sent to the country’s welfare centres after they lost their parents in the devastating 2005 earthquake and last year’s floods. Pakistan has no law on the rights of such children, including their financial entitlement or inheritance. This will, we hope, go a long way in ensuring that the unfortunate children get their due.
But like all good intentions, this one too may face some real problems. Or let’s say the president might face some problems in future, especially some searching questions. But let’s assure you that there will be, as happens so often in Pakistan, no answers. Take for example, when all the president’s children grow up and realise the worth of having such a weighty surname. Many would surely wear it as a badge of honour (we hope if no more Osamas are found in Islamabad’s backyard that is). But there’s also a strong possibility of a few having serious doubts when a related question crops up in their innocent minds: why isn’t their elder brother Bilawal called Bilawal Zardari, but Bilawal Bhutto? Or some more enterprising ones will say: thank you for the surname but what lies behind it? Maybe some property too, at least 15%? Or maybe someone will be bit bolder and ask for a higher amount adjusted to inflation.
As we said in the beginning, Mr Zardari is a noble soul. He might part with some dough considering that the 15% days are long over and has also now been inflation-adjusted. And, he has some extra cash to spare.