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Gathering Evidence of Potential War Crimes in Ukraine; CNN Speaks to Italian Foreign Minister; Italy Agrees to Ramp up Gas Imports from Algeria; Shehbaz Sharif takes Helm of a Troubled Economy; Shehbaz Sharif takes Reins as PM after Dramatic Upheaval; Dubai Exhibit Merges Physical and Digital Artwork. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 13, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you. Under siege but undeterred, Ukrainian
forces vowing to hang on to the southern city of Mariupol even as Russian troops patrol the streets.
Zelenskyy Presidential Adviser says the final two units fighting the Russians are joining forces a steel factory now the focus of intense
battles. Meantime, there is more shelling in a residential part of Kharkiv that's Ukraine second largest city.
Russian forces there said to be using cluster munitions, left landmines on timers to maximize harm. New satellite images show columns of Russian
forces sneaking their way into eastern Ukraine setting the stage for an all-out assault.
No corridors open today for civilians to leave. Ukraine says it is simply too dangerous. Ed Lavandera joining us now live from Odessa. Mariupol of
course, has been a kind of flashpoint and a city that is that has made the headlines throughout this war that is grinding on.
And the biggest problem, of course, for organizations like ours is we really haven't got people on the ground. This is a besieged city. So it's
very difficult to elicit what is going on there. But we know it is horrendous Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And you know it's come to symbolize the horror of this war. And is we should be clear and transparent about the
situation here because it is very difficult to report on the city. CNN is not in Mariupol and is not embedded with Russian troops there.
But every indication we're getting is that the situation there in that city is becoming direr by the day. As you mentioned, there are two Ukrainian
fighting units left there in the city, one, a marine unit and another called the Azov regiment.
According to Ukrainian officials, those two groups had been kind of separated and surrounded. But we got indication this morning that those two
units have been able to break through a line and at least come together. And they're hopeful that that will give them a fighting chance.
Some of the marines - some people in that marine unit were sent out a Facebook post yesterday saying that they would fight to the very end. But
it is clear that it is a dire situation.
The Mayor of Mariupol is now saying that they are convinced that the Russian forces have used chemical weapons in the fight for that city. The
Mayor does say that they are unable to prove those allegations at this point that it's simply impossible to go out and do the testing required to
prove it beyond a doubt.
But they're saying that civilians and some of soldiers on the ground have been affected by a chemical agent. And we're also teaching Becky, that
there are about 180,000 civilians 120,000 in the city 60,000 in the surrounding area that need to be evacuated.
This is a staggering number, because humanitarian corridors today have been blocked by Russian forces basically impossible for any civilians to escape
to have to safety through those areas. And the only ways out, and this is a number that has really just not moved in any kind of significant way for
several weeks now.
And it has been several weeks where officials on the ground had been saying that they had run out of adjectives to describe how horrendous the
situation is there for civilians, and that they were living like mice. You can imagine how much that and how worse that has gotten here in the last
two weeks. So the situation there in Mariupol appears to be getting direr by the hour Becky.
ANDERSON: Ed Lavandera on the ground in Odessa, reporting on what is just a terrible situation there thank you Ed. Well, there have been numerous
accusations of war crimes in Ukraine crews digging through dirt now to look for evidence. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen talked with the nation's top
prosecutor who shows us what investigators are finding?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even as Russian troops mass in Eastern Ukraine for what the U.S. believes will
be a huge offensive. Authorities in Kyiv continued digging up bodies, painstaking work that goes hand in hand with investigating Russia's attack
on Kyiv and possible crimes committed by Vladimir Putin's invading troops.
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova is leading the charge. She spoke to me at the edge of a mass grave in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: For us, the best motivation is justice. And of course, we understand that all Ukrainian want
fast justice true and fast justice. That's why we do everything to document all evidence, all facts of war crimes that we have here in Ukraine.
PLEITGEN (voice over): French forensic investigators are now also on the scene not because Ukraine lacks expertise but because Kyiv wants to be as
transparent as possible in the face of Russian disinformation efforts.
VENEDIKTOVA: We want to do our job absolutely open with standards of international humanitarian law. It's very high standards. That's why when
here we have our international colleagues; we understand that they can see everything. They can see a real situation here real graves real dead
PLEITGEN (voice over): After Ukrainian forces managed to expel Russian troops from around Kyiv and some other areas they occupied in Ukraine.
Authorities have discovered scores of dead bodies. Today, another six found in just one basement outside Kyiv. The prosecutor tells me they are
collecting evidence in thousands of cases.
VENEDIKTOVA: Now, we started in more than 6000 cases, its cases its crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression crimes. And we started on
the first day so far, we started them case about genocide.
PLEITGEN (voice over): All this as Russia still claims its forces that invaded Ukraine have not harmed any civilians. On a visit to a spaceport
with Belarusian Strongman Alexander Lukashenko Russian President Vladimir Putin, again claimed his forces are fighting against would be Ukrainian
Nazis, in what he calls a, "Special Operation".
The goals are absolutely clear and they are noble. He said, I said it from the beginning and want to draw your attention to that.
PLEITGEN (on camera): There are some in the U.S. at the top level who have spoken about a possible war crimes trial against Vladimir Putin, is that
something you think could ever be possible and it's something that you're working towards to provide evidence for?
VENEDIKTOVA: Of course, I think that everyone understands who is responsible for this war. That's why we do everything to fix to document
evidences. But we are here in Ukraine actually understood who is responsible for all of this.
PLEITGEN (voice over): The investigators work is complicated by the fact that the war is still going on. And they can't reach many devastated areas
like the encircled city of Mariupol, where Ukraine's president says tens of thousands have been killed. But Iryna Venediktova says no matter how long
it takes, she will press on.
VENEDIKTOVA: It's actually extremely important because if we will be successful as prosecutors, I assure that we can stop such aggressions in
PLEITGEN (on camera): Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Well, Russia is increasing its attacks on Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv a CNN team on the ground there witnessed intense
shelling in one neighborhood before being warned to move to a safer position.
There's now new video showing the aftermath of attacks on Tuesday, our representative in the Kharkiv government tells CNN the shelling is evidence
of Russia's broad military push in the area of defense forces failed to take Kyiv.
Another video from Sunday shows apparent cluster munitions exploding in Kharkiv. Ukraine accuses Russia of using those highly destructive weapons
at least two dozen times. The UN says if true that may amount to war crimes.
Well, Ukraine says Russian forces are launching remote controlled landmines into Kharkiv and nearby areas, finding them and diffusing them without
further casualties is a very dangerous process as Nima Elbagir found out.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is the central market area in Kharkiv and this is the site of most of last
night's strikes. We've come here with emergency service first responders; because the Russians have come up with a new tactic to ensure that the
devastation of their attacks lasts far beyond first impact. Lieutenant Colonel Igor Ovcharuk is the Head of the Bomb Disposal Team.
LT. COL. IGOR OVCHARUK, HEAD OF PYROTECHNIC GROUP, EMERGENCY SERVICES: The mines explode by themselves and cause damage. These elements can detonate
between 3 and 40 hours later, so we have to detonate them remotely to avoid damage to the civilian population.
ELBAGIR (voice over): There are unexploded mines all over this area so they can't get too close. What they do is they wrap plastic explosives around a
wire, link it to a detonator that's been placed next to the unexploded ordinance. They retreat then they blow it up a brutal new tactic leaving
death to lie in wait for unsuspecting civilians, Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kharkiv.
ANDERSON: Well, the Chancellor of Austria was the first western leader to meet with Vladimir Putin since the invasion. Now in its 49th day, he
visited Ukraine before going to Moscow where he saw what he says is evidence of war crimes. I spoke to him about both those visits earlier. And
I asked him about Mr. Putin's mindset, have a listen?
KARL NEHAMMER, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR: Well, he was very clear in his messages. He, in his point of view, he has to defend the Russian
Federation, the Russians living in the eastern Ukraine. And I think we will see that the war will go on.
ANDERSON: How would you describe his mindset?
NEHAMMER: Well, he was a very tough he was clear in his messages. He is in his own logic, about war. I think this is very dangerous now. And on the
other hand, he mentioned the Istanbul peace talks. I think the Istanbul peace talks, could be a chance to stop the war.
ANDERSON: He said, Putin said on Tuesday that peace talks with Ukraine had hit a dead end. You're suggesting that when you spoke to him, that you
still see an opportunity in those talks?
NEHAMMER: Yes, I think so. And you know, I give, you know my impression I had, because he mentioned the Istanbul peace talks. And I informed
President Zelenskyy about that.
ANDERSON: Some Europeans and some Ukrainians criticized you for going to Moscow at this point. What's your response?
NEHAMMER: I think it's useful to go there to look in his eyes and to say, the war has to end. Because, you know, I think it's also useful that other
Prime Ministers of the European Union talk to him by phone calls. But I think it's much stronger, first, to visit here to visit Ukraine, to see
what is going on there.
And with this pictures in the mind, going to Moscow, and confront Putin, with this pictures with what you saw there, you know, the war crimes have
to be investigated by the international justice. And I think it's much stronger to look someone in his eyes.
ANDERSON: Did you accuse him of war crimes?
NEHAMMER: Well, I confronted him with that and I told him that it's necessary to have the international justice the United Nations there. And,
you know, for him, it's not easy to talk about that. But we have to do that.
ANDERSON: Did he accept that there are war crimes being committed?
NEHAMMER: Well, you know, it's President Putin. In this position, he was not clear.
ANDERSON: And that full interview well my exclusive interview is online. Just ahead, as Finland edges closer to joining NATO find out why the
Italian Foreign Minister calls that a big ambition? My interview with him is next.
And this hour we speak to the Head of the Pakistan People's Party his views on the major transition of power in his country as Shehbaz Sharif takes on
his duties as the new Prime Minister.
ANDERSON: The war in Ukraine maybe uniting Western European ways the Kremlin didn't anticipate. As two countries now age closer to joining NATO,
Finland and Sweden are officially non-aligned with NATO.
But Finland says its decision on applying for membership could come in a matter of weeks. For its part Sweden says it would make a decision on NATO
membership after serious analysis because they say the war has changed the security landscape.
I interviewed the foreign minister of Italy earlier on today. Italy, of course, is a NATO member. And I started by asking whether he supports these
two countries Sweden and Finland entering the alliance have a listen.
LUIGI DI MAIO, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think that as far as ambitions of countries like Sweden and Finland are concerned with regarding NATO,
this is a very big ambition. And it's supported by popular the popular will of those countries. And of course, no further standards are required to
Obviously, this will require a procedure. And it will have to be put to the people and to governments and institutions will also have to decide. But we
will continue to build an ever more unified NATO because it's a defense alliance. It guarantees the security of everybody.
It's not only defending the people but defending our democracies. And I think that it is absolutely essential that we have an organization like
that to defend them. Our democracy is threatened by this war.
ANDERSON: And there are of course, new security challenges that have become very apparent since this war began and Europe looking at those challenges
and considerations for the European Union and the wider continent. What would you like to see change? What do you believe Europe security
architecture should look like going forward?
MAIO: I think that from the point of view of the security architecture of Europe, in particular, we need to accelerate a process which has lagged
behind recently, that is to say a common military and defense organization for Europe. NATO is not enough the work which we are doing within the EU.
Not only the meetings we had last week, but also because of the Russian aggression. We have to think more of a common defense and security policy.
And we need more and more security more and more confidence for our peoples.
And security is not just a question of the military or defense. We have a real food security problem which is looming. The Port of Odessa, for
example, is blocked by the Russian which exports all kinds of foodstuff to the Mediterranean.
So we have to make sure that as soon as possible, we can get back to exporting foodstuffs from Ukraine and the World Food Program. And FAO of
course has to contribute here so as to make sure that we guarantee the food security which is dependent on Russia or the Ukraine and to prevent the
ANDERSON: The impact of this war through food, and indeed, energy could be enormous, of course on Europe. Italy has said it strongly supports the EU
Commission's new sanctions package proposal, which includes an import ban on coal from Russia, will that ever be a ban on Russian oil? And would
Italy support that?
MAIO: Italy is not against is not going to put up any veto to these sanctions. And that affects energy particularly, ever since the first day
of this war, Italy has been looking to diversify its energy resources. I've been to Algeria, Congo, Mozambique and Azerbaijan. And we have shored up a
lot of new partnerships with regard to energy supplies.
ANDERSON: Let's be quite clear. What do you believe needs to happen next, in order to stop this wall? What can be achieved with sanctions? I mean,
Italy, for example, imports 40 percent of its gas, you have recently been to Algeria, you have, for example, signed some deals there.
But is that enough? I mean, ultimately, Europe has issues when it comes to certain sanctions, doesn't it? The impact on the European economy will be
swinging what is, Italy prepared to do? And how much pain do you believe the Italian public is prepared to bear?
MAIO: Well, obviously, we are prepared for new packets of sanctions. And we have to work with the EU to decide which the next steps should be. But in
the meantime, Europe and Italy must implement their own energy security arrangements, and to make sure that we fix a ceiling for the price of gas.
And as you said, we've gone to other countries to compensate for the Russian oil, gas rather, and we have tried to minimize the effect on
Italian citizens through putting a maximum ceiling on the price.
But you know there will be more than 200 percent more on Italian consumer's energy bills, so we will need EU help in order to do that. Certainly the
cost of energy is our first worry at the moment. There are enterprises businesses, which are in enormous difficulties.
There are businesses for example, that are paying 400 percent more for electric energy. At this moment in time, we have to stop that speculation
which is happening by putting a ceiling on energy prices. That is more or less the case.
We are trying to get that through the EU. And if we can do that, through the European energy Stock Exchange, we will be able to at least stabilize
the increase in prices for feminists. We are going to certainly put that to forward before the next European Council.
Because you know, this is very, very important for us. It's an essential question. We are the second biggest manufacturing nation in Europe and we
ANDERSON: What was the Italian Foreign Minister speaking to me earlier; Ben Hall is the Europe Editor of the Financial Times. He's here with me now in
the London studio. I thought the Italian Foreign Minister, they're being very sort of transparent about how difficult this war is becoming for the
people of Europe.
BEN HALL, FT EUROPE EDITOR: Undoubtedly, because not only is it the gravest security threat that they faced in their lifetimes, certainly since the
Second World War, they are also facing pocketbook consequences.
Because the price of energy and other commodities is going up very, very sharply and you're beginning to see the ramifications of that played out
politically in France, for example.
ANDERSON: Isn't it interesting, because when you speak to any leading politician in Europe and you ask them whether the impact on the people of
Europe of this war will begin to make things difficult to retain this unity amongst the 27th in the block, they say no, absolutely not. The unity
remains, the unity will go on. Are you convinced it will? I worried that there will be a fracture.
HALL: Well, you can ask me that question on April the 25th, after the second round of the French election, which I think will be the best guide
to that, because Marine Le Pen, the far right leader in France has made a big play about cost of living increases.
And how that, you know, this is why the French voters should back the far right, even though they are quite close to the Kremlin. And so I think that
will be the real test in the coming weeks as to whether the Europeans can hold the line on sanctions even without further sanctions such as an
embargo on oil, let alone an embargo on gas.
ANDERSON: Because the embargo on gas, quite frankly, for a country like Italy, which is heavily dependent to the tune of some 40 percent, a country
like Austria, I spoke to the chancellor earlier on.
And our viewers heard that in the last hour, which imports 80 percent of its gas have simply said, you know, we don't care whether Europe believes
everything is still on the table. It's not gas embargo. Oil Embargo is not on the table, as far as the Austrians are concerned.
HALL: Possibly not as far as the Austrians are concerned, but the pressure is only going to build. As this war goes on, we've had seven weeks of war,
as the death and destruction mounts as people in see what's happened in a city like Mariupol besieged by the Russian forces.
Since the war began the death and destruction there is going to be very hard for European governments to resist going further, particularly on oil
and I think also on gas.
ANDERSON: That's fascinating. And you make a very good point about the French elections. I think you're absolutely right, that this is going to be
a key indicator of where, you know what is a key country stands and will give us a better sense of where we are.
As far as European story is concerned, the European security architecture, the challenges and the considerations that are now in play off the back of
this war are absolutely fascinating.
We have seen the Swedes and Finland not aligned with NATO at present, looking now to say, do we now seek membership? Will they?
HALL: I think they will. I think it's clear that public opinion has shifted very, very quickly, especially in Finland. Public opinion was always a
little bit more favorable in Sweden than in Finland, it was the politics that were perhaps holding those two Sweden back more than Finland.
Those countries have a long tradition of kind of moving in lockstep on this issue. They've been dropping very heavy hints that they will make a
decision in the spring in time for the NATO summit in Madrid in June.
ANDERSON: We got the Italian Foreign Minister to speak to that; he said he would support any questions of membership by them both. Despite what I
said, could be this being seen as an antagonistic move by the Russians? Will it be?
HALL: Well, the Russians have sort of implied that there will be consequences if NATO goes ahead. And if you remember back in, in December,
this was one of Russia's red lines, no more NATO expansion, including to Finland and Sweden.
So they may feel that they have to make a point. On the other hand, they are totally, you know, military morass in Ukraine, they hardly have the
ability to widen this conflict, I think, at this stage and to prevail in Ukraine.
So, I suspect they don't have that much scope to really take military action against Sweden or Finland right now.
ANDERSON: There is a very big and very porous border, isn't there? It's good to have you. I don't suppose for a moment that as Europe Editor, you
could have imagined what you would be covering this time last year. Maybe you did.
Maybe you didn't, maybe it would make you a very good Europe editor. It was an interesting job for the best of times. It's good to have you. We'll have
HALL: Very good to be here.
ANDERSON: Ahead on the show political transition in Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif becomes Prime Minister and inherits what is a crippling economy that
he blames on his predecessor; more on his first days in office is coming up.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to "Connect the World". Before we get back to our continuing coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, I want to get you up
to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar that we are following around the world.
And flooding has killed dozens of people in South Africa, with some reports saying the death toll is higher than 250. In the port city of Durban, large
stacks of shipping containers you see here collapse into Muddy Waters.
With a month's worth of rain in just 24 hours triggered mudslides and toppled buildings. Teams are now working to restore power and water. Well,
the uptick in violence between Israelis and Palestinians not letting up.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health says a 34 year old Palestinian man was killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank. Israeli
soldiers have been ramping up raids in the West Bank after a series of attacks killed 14 people.
Five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the weekend. Well, protesters in Sri Lanka are rejecting the Prime Minister's invitation
to hold talks. Demonstrators have gathered for days outside the president's office demanding both the PM and the President resign over the country's
worst economic crisis in decades, and staying in the subcontinent and update on Pakistani politics.
Earlier this week, Parliament swore in a new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the brother of three times Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, taking the helm of
what is a troubled economy.
You see people here reading news about the turmoil that delivered Mr. Sharif to office. He accuses his predecessor Imran Khan of mishandling the
economy. Every day people have been struggling for food and fuel.
Last week the rupee hit an all-time low and the Central Bank implemented the biggest interest rate hike in decades. Mr. Sharif helped lead the no
confidence vote that recently kicked Mr. Khan out of office.
What happens in Pakistan matters not just the people of Pakistan Of course, Pakistan is central to geopolitics. While he was in office, calm became
more anti American and maintain close ties with China, and more recently with Russia.
In fact, the former Prime Minister held talks with Vladimir Putin the same day Russia invaded Ukraine. Well, CNN's Sophia Saifi tells us more about
Shehbaz Sharif, the new Prime Minister and the challenges he is now facing in office.
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A political whirlwind in Pakistan, on Monday, Shehbaz Sharif was sworn in as the country's new Prime
Minister. Just a day after his predecessor Imran Khan lost a no confidence vote.
It was a dramatic start for the new leader in which more than 100 lawmakers loyal to Khan resigned in protest. Despite the chaos, Sharif vowed to begin
his term by tackling yet another problem in the country, the economy.
SHEHBAZ SHARIF, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: At this point in time, only the poor man is devastated and destroyed. I will provide some relief to them on
behalf of this coalition government and would like to say that at the very least, we will raise the minimum wage to 25,000 rupees.
SAIFI (voice over): Sharif blames Khan for mismanaging the economy and lead calls for a no confidence vote against him after urging him to resign. Just
over a week ago, Khan announced he was dissolving parliament and calling for early elections to avoid the vote.
But that move was struck down by the country's highest court. And on Sunday there were loud chairs in parliament, after Khan lost the high stakes
SARDAR AYAZ SADIQ, ACTING PAKISTANI NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKER: The resolution for vote of no confidence against Mr. Imran Khan, the Prime
Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been passed.
SAIFI (voice over): Sharif is the younger brother of three times Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2018, but
later left the country for medical treatment after serving only a brief part of his prison sentence.
The new prime minister is set to have support in the Pakistani military, which had distanced itself from Khan. Sharif also has allies in China after
playing an influential role in a multibillion dollar deal between the two countries.
And says he wants to improve relations with the West. Khan remains defiant after his defeat and says the U.S. was behind his downfall, which
Washington denies. He also says he would not support an opposition government if it succeeded and ousting him.
IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: I will not accept an imported government. I will go out to my people. I do not belong to a political
family. Neither my father nor any relative was in politics.
SAIFI (voice over): Thousands of Khan supporters have been protesting in major cities around the country, yet another challenge for Pakistan's new
leader on this dizzying first day in office. - Sophia Saifi, CNN, Islamabad.
ANDERSON: Well, my next guest is no stranger to Pakistani politics. He is the son of two times, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former President
Asif Ali Zardari. He is now the Head of the Pakistan People's Party.
After Imran Khan lost his vote of no confidence, he tweeted and I quote, "After trying every unconstitutional trick IK referring to Imran Khan
couldn't stop us democracy one." Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of Pakistan People's Party joins me now live from Islamabad. It's good to have
you. I know you've endorsed Sharif's appointment, there are reports that you're being hired as Pakistan's new foreign minister, can you confirm
BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, CHAIRMAN, PAKISTAN PEOPLE'S PARTY: No, I can't confirm that. But absolutely, we worked with a coalition government to oust
Mr. Khan through no confidence motion. He tried to support our moves through what amounts to a constitutional coup. But the Supreme Court of
Pakistan decided against him. And ultimately - managed to finish the democratic process and voted him out of office.
ANDERSON: Out of interest, would your party be happy with you becoming foreign minister under Prime Minister not from your own party?
ZARDARI: I'm sure that would be something difficult for my party to - stomach being the second largest member of the coalition. But obviously, we
do have to work together to address Pakistan's problems and whatever my party decides, in the better interest of the country. Of course, I would
follow these decisions.
ANDERSON: At this point, you don't see a future for you in this administration, but you're saying it'd be up to the party.
ZARDARI: At this point, all political parties that are in our alliance that defeated Imran Khan must work together for the restoration of democracy,
work towards electoral reforms and tried to address the economic issues that you mentioned in your introduction.
ANDERSON: Which I do want to address because the country is a mess. Before I do that, Imran Khan is demanding immediate elections, he says, to let the
people decide whom they want as their Prime Minister.
You have said democracy has won a new of appeal to the youth that democracy is the best revenge. So do you support Khan's call for free and fair
elections, early elections if needs be?
ZARDARI: We absolutely want free and fair elections. But in order to have free and fair elections, we must legislate on electoral reforms. Because as
everybody knows, the 2018 election that Khan use to come to power have been widely seen and condemned not only nationally but internationally as raked
in compromised elections, that resulted in this three years of autocratic dictator rules.
Through the office of Mr. Imran Khan, who not only robbed our media of media freedoms, but robbed average Pakistanis and democratic rights that we
just recently started to enjoy in the 10 years before Mr. Khan came to power.
So indeed it is a big victory for democracy that we are moving towards electoral reforms and free and fair elections. We're not a selected
government like Mr. Khan's, but a government that is truly like representative of the people of Pakistan can decide their fate.
ANDERSON: Imran Khan does still enjoy huge popular support. He tweeted a day ago, the following starting with never have such crowds been come out
so spontaneously in such numbers in our history, rejecting the imported government, led by crooks, those protests he claims are against a U.S.
backed regime change.
He is right to point out there were massive, massive protests, demonstrations of support. That tweet alone garnered 7.2 million views.
What are your thoughts on his belief that house that is all part of a U.S. orchestrated conspiracy?
ZARDARI: I think that the American people will be able to relate to what Pakistan is going through right now. Pakistan just recently experienced our
equivalent to your January 6 moment where Mr. Khan, despite knowing that he'd lost his majority in parliament.
Tried acting through the speaker, who conduct a constitutional coup, and throughout that process. And he's come up with this big lie of an
international conspiracy led by the United States to oust him.
And the fact is he is the first prime minister in the history of Pakistan to be ousted through democratic constitutional means. And this is a massive
victory for Pakistan's democracy, as far as his support is concerned.
Of course, little fascists all over the world enjoy the cult following, but that does not mean that the majority of Pakistan should be dictated to by
this by these fascists in jeans.
ANDERSON: OK. Let's be quite clear though, he does retain enormous popular support. His tenure as prime minister was characterized by the shift away
from the west and the move closer to China and indeed to Russia.
President Biden didn't call him during his three and a half year tenure, Khan's criticism of Washington and the West, frankly, bought him a lot of
popular support inside the country. Do you see Pakistan's relationship with Washington now changing under Shehbaz Sharif and if so, how?
ZARDARI: If you - all three parts of your question. As far as Mr. Khan support and the public is concerned, even though we criticize the last
elections, as heavily rigged, according to those rigged election results, which Mr. Khan calls the most free and fair elections in Pakistan's
Mr. Hahn represents, Mr. Khan's position in Parliament represents 30 percent of the people of Pakistan votes, whereas our coalition represents
70 percent of the people of Pakistan's votes. So that's as far as Mr. Khan' popularity is concerned.
As far as Pakistan's relationship with the West or any other country, Mr. Imran Khan, despite being extremely anti American, in his rhetoric when
he's out of government when he was in government, and Mr. Trump was the President of the United States, he enjoyed very cordial relations with Mr.
It is true that since President Biden has taken has taken over and following the complexities in Afghanistan; there has been difficulties
between the U.S. and Pakistan relations. But Mr. Khan is manipulating the series of events to try and create this perception that there is some
grants conspiracy when the fact of the matter, there is none.
Our decision to bring a vote of no confidence was taken much before Mr. Khan's visit to Russia on the eve of the Ukrainian crisis. And we had no
way of knowing that Mr. Khan would go and shake President Putin's hand as he was invading Ukraine. And as a result, there would be some sort of
friction in foreign policy.
But because Mr. Khan was removed through a democratic process, because he doesn't have any route, any narrative that allows him to be presented as a
victim. He is relying on Pakistanis general anti American sentiment.
And trying to provoke a very dangerous situation where he's declared 70 percent of the peoples, the parliamentarians that represents 70 percent of
the people's mandate as traitors unilaterally and is going down a very dangerous path.
America has had 200 years of democracy to sustain the pressures of this sort of attack. Pakistan's democracy is very young, it's very new and Mr.
Khan's assault, his big lie in fascist tendencies is indeed --.
ANDERSON: So let me put this to you. It is a young country, it's a young democracy. Sharif is a brother of former deposed Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif. You yourself a part of one of Pakistan's leading political families and the son of two former prime minister and a president.
Some would say that is what is wrong with Pakistani politics is sort of dynasty family politics, right or wrong?
ZARDARI: Absolutely dynasties exist. I mean, I would think it's unfair to criticize former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary
Clinton for being involved in politics because her husband involved in politics, et cetera.
ANDERSON: No, that's not a good answer. It was a really important question. It's a really important question.
ZARDARI: --criticize nepotism and dynastic politics as much as you want. But whoever the people of Pakistan decide, that is what at the end of the
day should matter. As far as Mr. Khan is concerned, his entire party is full of this --.
He himself, his children may be under Asian not involved in politics at the moment. But in his provincial governments in his federal representations in
his party representations, he relies heavily on Pakistani --.
As far as myself is concerned, my grandfather was, was hanged by a military dictator. My mother was assassinated by a terrorist and a dictators,
economics. And I was forced into Pakistani politics at a young age. I didn't choose this life, it chose me.
ZARDARI: But for whatever reason, one is doing politics, we believe in democracy and that the people should decide. Mr. Hahn likes to talk about
democracy, when in fact he believes in rigging elections and coming to power.
ANDERSON: I'm going to have to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed, for joining us; the economy is in dire straits. One can only hope
that this latest iteration will improve things one hope so. Thank you, taking a break back after this.
ANDERSON: An official close to the British Prime Minister says that Boris Johnson is "completely mortified" after being fined in the so called party
gate scandal. CNN's Nada Bashir brings us the very latest from here in London.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The first British Prime Minister found to have broken the law while in office. That now forever a part of
Boris Johnson's legacy after him, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were issued a symbolic 50 pound fine or $65 by London's Metropolitan
Police for breaking COVID-19 regulations.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On the day that happened to be my birthday there was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2
p.m. lasting for less than 10 minutes. Let me say immediately that I paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology.
BASHIR (voice over): More than 50 fines have been issued to government personnel following a probe into what's become known as the party gate
scandal. Gatherings at 10 Downing Street and other government offices held despite strict COVID regulations put in place by Johnson's own government.
The Prime Minister repeatedly assured parliament that no such gatherings took place.
JOHNSON: All guidance was followed completely during number 10. I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged, that there was no party
and that and that no COVID rules were broken.
BASHIR (voice over): But the truth eventually caught up with him.
JOHNSON: I want to say sorry.
BASHIR (voice over): A 12 page report published in January detailed an investigation of 16 gatherings that occurred across an 11 month period when
the country was under strict COVID restrictions, and found that such gatherings represented a serious failure on the part of government
All the while the rich people were under strict COVID rules put in place by the government, hundreds dying on a daily basis. An all too familiar
reality for frontline doctor, Saleyha Ahsan who not only cared for countless COVID patients in intensive care, but also lost her own father to
SALEYHA AHSAN, COVID DOCTOR: I feel vindicated, but not fully because we now have someone who is in the highest office in the country, having broken
the rules that they set everyone else to abide by. So I feel that his position is untenable.
BASHIR (voice over): Calls for the Prime Minister to resign have been reignited as have questions over whether Johnson knowingly misled the
British people and indeed parliament. And while Johnson may have hoped the Russian invasion of Ukraine would provide ample distraction for what has
become a divisive topic in the UK.
New revelations around the party gate scandal may shift the focus away from Johnson statesmanship, and more towards his moral authority, with many
questioning why it's one rule for the British public and another for the Prime Minister. Nada Bashir, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson with you from London this week. Up next is this, the future of art, a digital exhibit opens alongside physical artwork
at a gallery in Dubai; we get a closer look after this.
ANDERSON: All right, just time for your parting shots tonight. Dubai known as a burgeoning cultural hub and it has a fast developing art scene one
gallery there looking to accelerate that evolution into the digital world. Take a listen to how they are learning to shake up the region's art scene.
Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARA FIRETTI, FOUNDER, FIRETTI COMTEMPORARY: Welcome to theoretical temporary, we are the first gallery in the region merging digital and
physical artwork. We are about one year old and it's a family-run gallery.
CELINE AZEM, CURATOR AND DIRECTOR, FIRETTI COMTEMPORARY: With the increase of NFT's and the interest in NFT's we also thought that it would be a good
idea to contribute to that. And to provide people with a selection of fine art NFT something that they know is strong in value and will die out.
The unique thing about the gallery is that we represent both established and emerging artists and we use the gallery itself as a vehicle for change
through our artist's works. We highlight a lot on sustainable actions, social issues, and anything that has real meaning, we really want to
contribute to change and to be part of change.
FIRETTI: It is also a way to bring culture to a completely new set of investors. The plan for the gallery is continuously to bridge artists from
different sides of the world, and to stay on top of the wave of the contemporary art scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Thank you for joining us. CNN continues after this short break.