Washington: Pakistan’s Presidency and Dr Tanveer Zamani, a practicing surgeon and PPP activist in the US, have commented quite differently on a flood of reports and Internet blogs referring to the possibility that Asif Ali Zardari may have secretly married Zamani.
The Sindh Medical College graduate, in her late 40s, who did her PhD in political science from Ireland in 1996 before moving to US for practicing, is of Mediterranean descent and reportedly lives in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York. Many websites claim that she owns estates in London, Dubai, Islamabad and Manhattan.
While the Presidency not only rebutted but also condemned what it termed as baseless propaganda against President Zardari regarding his personal life, Dr Zamani, rumoured to be his new wife, tried to dodge the issue without saying a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Spokesperson of the President, Farhatullah Babar, issued the following statement: “The Pakistan People’s Party deplores and condemns the launch of a vicious and unethical tirade on the net against Co-Chairman PPP President Asif Ali Zardari insinuating that the President had recently remarried secretly.”
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani also contradicted reports about the marriage between Zardari and Zamani.
“With due respect, this is utter nonsense”, the Nation quoted Ambassador Haqqani’s statement, forwarded by a friend to Wichaar, as saying.
PPP MNA Farahnaz Ispahani, who also has been a spokesperson for the President and the PPP at some time, also said in a brief message on a blog posted from her e-mail: “President Asif Ali Zardari is the widower of Shaheed Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto. His marital status remains that of a widower”.
“This is another nasty, pernicious rumour started by opponents to hurt the President, his family and the Party. It is a baseless rumour,” The News quoted Farahnaz, as saying in the blog.
However, Zamani responded to The News in a rather roundabout way when questioned on the matter during a telephonic talk.
When asked without mentioning the subject, “There is a lot of buzz on the Internet about a personal matter about you, would you like to confirm or deny it,” Zamani said she would not say anything but had sought legal advice on the matter.
Then she was asked that this was about her alleged link to Zardari and a very personal matter, so what was illegal about it and why she had sought legal advice on it.
Giving a rather strange reply, Zamani said: “Personal matters are a very low priority. We have to handle the Egypt situation, the prices situation (in Pakistan), introduce Bilawal as the PPP leader, and many other issues. Personal issues come very low on my priority.”
When asked directly, “Are you Mrs Zardari?” she replied: “I would not comment on it.”
On reiterating the question, “So you would not deny or confirm,” Zamani said: “No comment.”
Her reactions to the above questions do raise doubts over Presidency spokesman Farhatulla Babar’s statement, which categorically rejected the reports, saying that these speculative reports were the figments of a sick imagination, showing that the President’s opponent’s had chosen to target his personal life.