London: In a damning assessment, Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari has been described by British
officials as "highly corrupt" and a "numbskull".
The assessment of Zardari was made by officials and
military leaders in the months after his election as president
in September 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported citing
documents leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
Sir Jock Stirrup, then Chief of the Defence staff,
told American diplomats that Pakistan was already in an
"arguably worse" state a month after Zardari`s election.
He said Although Zardari had made "helpful political
noises", he`s clearly a numbskull.
His comments were echoed by high-ranking British
officials who said Zardari had "not much sense of how to
govern a country" and "no goals beyond hanging on to power".
A leaked record of the talks with US officials
indicated that Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent secretary to
the Foreign Office and now David Cameron`s national security
adviser, said the British government "would like to believe in
Zardari" but added: "I fear he talks and talks but not much
Zardari took over as leader of the Pakistan People`s
Party after his wife former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was
assassinated in 2007.
He was elected president after military government of
Gen Pervez Musharraf collapsed.
In a cable sent to Washington from the US embassy in
London in April 2008, diplomats disclosed that the British
government "makes no attempt to hide from us its disdain for
According to the cable: "Most in the government see
Zardari as highly corrupt and lacking popular support simply
having benefited from his wife`s unfortunate demise."