Zardari became a leader during his 9 years ordeal in jail when he refused to compromise with those (in the establishment) who wanted him to sign a confession and leave Pakistan. Instead, Zardari accepted prison over a luxurious life in exile.
After his election as the President of Pakistan, he gave a loud, clear and positive message that he wanted to bury the politics of acrimony and hatred in the country and he did exactly that.
When Zardari started work to put Pakistan on the right track, this disturbed those interested in seeing Pakistan as the global hub for Taliban-like movements. Zardari's decision to take on the Taliban and other terrorists across Pakistan further enraged some pro-Taliban politicians and their cronies in Pakistani media. This is why these elements are finding hard to digest President Zardari at the helm of affairs. Here is an apt analysis by Abbas Mehkari.