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Pakistani Hatchet Man

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistan's influential "Dawn" newspaper confirms (and Reuters picks up) what we all have long suspected about President Asif Ali Zardari. Or at least what those who accused him of conspiracy to commit serial goat sacrifice have known:

"One thing is certain: Hundreds of black goats have been sacrificed since Mr Zardari moved into the President’s House in September 2008. His trusted personal servant Bai Khan buys goats from Saidpur village. The animal is touched by Mr Zardari before it is sent to his private house in F-8/2 to be sacrificed."

Whew, for a moment there, I thought they were slaughtering goats at the President House!

It seems, according to "Dawn," that the "black magic" aimed at warding off "evil eyes." (Are you listening, Jundullah?)

Still unfazed by a man entrusted with the launch code in a volatile nuclear powerhouse under siege from Islamist extremists looking to goat entrails for protection and guidance?

The paper shares an "insiders" account of a covey of black partridges moving into President House, only to be "electrocuted when a live wire fell on their cage."

Bad omen. (Are you listening, President Obama?)

More evidence from "Dawn" that Zardari is arguably the nuclear-armed world's most superstitious leader:

"A camel, a cow and a few goats kept on the grounds of the presidency, however, survive and provide milk for its worthy resident.

That tradition from celebrities like Mahatma Gandhi may be followed for health reasons -- as may be the Neem tree that President Zardari introduced there for its anti-septic qualities."

-- Andy Heil

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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