Is Pakistan Prez Zardari mentally ill?

Last updated on Sep 7, 2008

Posted on Sep 7, 2008

News has come out (leaked by PML-N of Nawaz Sharif) that the new Pakistani President has a history of mental illness.  It is probably because he has spent 11 of his last 20 years in Pakistani prisons – where he may have been tortured.

Doctors had diagnosed him with illness as late as last year, according to the disclosed medical reports.  The problems included dementia, depression and post traumatic stress.

Lawyers for Zardari argued in London’s high court that he was too ill to testify in corruption-related cases, and they submitted recent mental-health evaluations as evidence. In March 2007, the Financial Times reported, New York psychologist Stephen Reich concluded that Zardari was “chronically anxious and apprehensive” and had thoughts of suicide, though he had not acted on them. The newspaper wrote that a New York psychiatrist, Philip Saltiel, found that Zardari’s long imprisonment in Pakistan while facing corruption probes had left him with “emotional instability” as well as memory and concentration problems. Dr. Reich declined to comment; Dr. Saltiel could not be reached.

This has raised concerns in the US since the President would have his hand on the button of Nuclear Arsenal.

Now, these reports were submitted in the corruption cases against Zardari.  Having said that, these medical reports may have been used by Zardari’s lawyers as a legal ploy to stall the corruption cases.

On the other hand, do the elected officials even have any authority in the Nuclear Chain of Command in Pakistan??  Highly unlikely, say some US officials – which I too believe to be true.  The Nuclear chain of command would ideally include fingers of top Pakistani Army elite.

So, hopefully, the world – specially India – would not be under any threat from Nuke button pressed by someone suffering from dementia. 🙂

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