British officials described Zardari as numbskull: WikiLeaks

London, Feb 5 (PTI) In a damning assessment, PakistanPresident Asif Ali Zardari has been described by Britishofficials as "highly corrupt" and a "numbskull".

The assessment of Zardari was made by officials andmilitary leaders in the months after his election as presidentin September 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported citingdocuments 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 politicalnoises", he''s clearly a numbskull.

His comments were echoed by high-ranking Britishofficials who said Zardari had "not much sense of how togovern a country" and "no goals beyond hanging on to power".

A leaked record of the talks with US officialsindicated that Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent secretary tothe Foreign Office and now David Cameron''s national securityadviser, said the British government "would like to believe inZardari" but added: "I fear he talks and talks but not muchhappens."

Zardari took over as leader of the Pakistan People''sParty after his wife former prime minister Benazir Bhutto wasassassinated in 2007.

He was elected president after military government ofGen Pervez Musharraf collapsed.

In a cable sent to Washington from the US embassy inLondon in April 2008, diplomats disclosed that the Britishgovernment "makes no attempt to hide from us its disdain forZardari".

According to the cable: "Most in the government seeZardari as highly corrupt and lacking popular support simplyhaving benefited from his wife''s unfortunate demise." PTI HSR

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