Pak tycoon allege Zardari tried to kill him

Leading hotelier and owner of Marriott and Pearl Continental chain in Pakistan has alleged that former President Asif Ali Zardari had tried to kill him due to a three-decade-old enmity.

PTI| Updated: Nov 18, 2014, 18:56 PM IST

Islamabad: Leading hotelier and owner of Marriott and Pearl Continental chain in Pakistan has alleged that former President Asif Ali Zardari had tried to kill him due to a three-decade-old enmity.

Sadruddin Hashwani alleges in his memoir 'Truth Always Prevails' that a clash in his hotel's disco at the Marriott's "discotheque" in Karachi in 1983 with Zardari turned into a lifelong rivalry with the former president.

This is just one of the many mentions of Zardari in the 248-page book which contains many harsh words and allegations against the former president.

Zardari "still holds the grudge for that incident," Hashwani writes in his book, accusing Zardari of not only victimising him but also plotting his assassination.

Hashwani also alleges that the 2008 Marriott bombing that killed 54 people and injured over 200 during the Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) last tenure in government was not carried out by Taliban or any militant group. Quoting an unknown "friend in the intelligence", he claims that it was politically motivated and aimed at killing him.

Hashwani, however, stops short of directly blaming the former president for the incident.

"In 2008 and 2009, there were five attempts on my life," alleges Hashwani, mentioning the period Zardari spent in the Presidency after the 2008 elections.

Giving account of the Marriott bombing, he writes that his decision to stop by at a mosque while on way to the hotel had actually saved his life. Later, he writes, the president's office started saying that the president was the real target of the attack as he was scheduled to have dinner in the hotel.

The tycoon says that he was forced to move from Karachi to Islamabad in 1990 to protect his family.

"As soon as his wife (Benazir Bhutto) came to power, Zardari and his cronies pushed government officials to investigate my companies," Hashwani claims.

He has also mentioned a telephone call and a meeting with Zardari when the latter forced him to sell a piece of land that he had bought in Karachi from a Parsi family.

Zardari has slapped Rs one billion notice on Hashwani for "false and derogatory" content to malign his reputation. He has also served notice to the book's publishers -- Penguin Books in India and Liberty Books in Karachi.