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From playboy to Pakistan President

September 06, 2008
Once dubbed as 'Mr 10 per cent' and a liability for his party, Asif Ali Zardari, who has spent more years behind the bars than in politics, on Saturday defied his critics by rising to occupy the post of Pakistan's President despite his tainted past.

A little-known businessman till he married Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of Pakistan's first political family, on December 18, 1987, Zardari remained in the shadows of his charismatic wife, the two-time Premier who was at the helm of affairs in the country in the 1990s.

The 53-year-old Pakistan People Party co-chairman's elevation to the highest constitutional post has turned the tables for the wily politician, who foxed his way to the top after being incarcerated for over a decade, on charges ranging from corruption to murder.

As he spent years in and out of jail, Zardari avoided the limelight till he came to the political frontline after the assassination of Bhutto on December 27 last year. He became the co-chairman of the PPP along with his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after his wife's murder.

Image: Asif Ali Zardari.
Photograph: Sameed Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

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