Fact-check: Was Asif Ali Zardari featured in a Netherlands school book?

The spokesperson for Ministry of Education in Netherlands said that the chapter was from an old school textbook, which is now being reviewed

Geo Fact-Check

A photo being shared online purportedly shows a chapter from a textbook in the Netherlands on the alleged corruption of Pakistan’s former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Social media users are speculating if the photo is in fact authentic and if the chapter from an actual textbook being taught in the European country.

The photo is real. The chapter does exist.


“In Netherlands school children are being taught the subject of corruption of Asif Zardari,” a Twitter user wrote on April 5, “What a moment of shame for Mr. 10 percent to make it to Dutch books as lessons of corruption.”

The tweet features a picture of a chapter from a textbook with the headline: “Former Pakistani president, ‘Mister 10 percent’ arrested for corruption.” Under the headline is a photo of Pakistan’s former president Zardari.

The tweet has received 29,200 views, 433 likes and 337 retweets, to date.

A similar claim was made by a verified Twitter account with the text: “Mr. Ten percent Zardari makes it to the Dutch school books, Lessons in corruption, a proud moment for PPP.”

This tweet has been viewed over 22,000 times.


The Netherlands' Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has confirmed to Geo Fact Check that the photo circulating online is indeed from a textbook of a four-year secondary vocational education program in the country.

The spokesperson for the ministry said that the chapter was from an old school textbook for 16-year-old students, enrolled in the four-year program. The textbook features a news article on the Pakistani ex-president for a class discussion.

“This is an older textbook, which refers to a news article of that time,” he told Geo Fact Check via WhatsApp, “It’s very normal to discuss news items of all sorts in classrooms, especially in subjects such as citizenship and social sciences, to which this book refers to.”

The spokesperson explained that in the Netherlands, publishers of school books are responsible for the contents of the books, not the Dutch government, adding that the publisher of this particular book has informed the ministry that the textbook is being reviewed for a new edition, which will be rolled out next year.

“If articles are outdated or do not display the current facts, they will be replaced,” he said.

As per a Google translation of the chapter, it states that Zardari, the former president of Pakistan, has been arrested for corruption and that he and his sister are suspected of money laundering.

The chapter further reads that Zardari has served time in prison and is known as ‘Mister 10 percent’ because of the payments he collected on government contracts.

Besides Asif Ali Zardari, the three-time former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has also been mentioned in the article.

“Zardari is not the only former government leader to be convicted,” the article reads, “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted in 2017, last year he was sentenced to seven years in prison for corruption.”

Google Translation on the chapter in a Netherlands textbook about Pakistani former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Google Translation on the chapter in a Netherlands textbook about Pakistani former president Asif Ali Zardari. 

The chapter further asks students to write why Zardari is called ‘Mr 10%”.

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