PESHAWAR - President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto forced him to join politics, saying their fight against a particular mindset which is bent upon destabilising the country would continue until its defeat.“I have learnt politics from Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Khan Abdul Wali Khan and Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Jail also taught me a lot,” the president said and added he had joined politics to save the country after the assassination of the two-time former premier, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. He said this while addressing the historic session of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as for the very first time in Pakistan’s history; a president addressed any provincial assembly. He arrived in Peshawar on Monday morning not only to address the KPK Assembly’s extraordinary session, but also to meet his party’s provincial leadership. President Asif Ali Zardari stressed the need to defeat the negative mindset to save Pakistan, saying that mindset was totally against Pakistan.Earlier, upon his arrival, he was received by KPK Governor Barrister Masood Kausar and Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti. Federal Communications Minister Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, KPK PPP President Anwar Saifullah, Federal SAFRON Minister Engr Shaukat Ullah, KPK Senior Minister Rahimdad Khan, Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah, KPK Assembly Speaker Karamatullah Khan, Senator Sardar Ali Khan, MNA Asma Alamgir and others senior PPP leaders and officials accorded a warm welcome to the president. “Democracy is the real revolution and, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, it was our responsibility to continue the political process. In fact, the country needs practising real democracy,” he said. He maintained that completion of five-year term by the parliament was an example of maturity and patience. He hoped that future generations of Pakistan would continue to strengthen democracy as this was in the interest of the country as well as rest of the world. He also vowed to defeat the internal enemies of the country.Asif Ali Zardari said that protection of democracy is wan in the interest of the country and that, too, was the demand of the day. The PPP-led government had strengthened the parliament, democracy and forged unity among the provinces by giving them their due rights. A conspiracy to create rift among the provinces and divide the nation had been foiled by giving provincial autonomy to the federating units. President Zardari said PPP had taken revenge from the killers of Benazir Bhutto by strengthening democracy. “We believe in tolerance and reconciliation,” he said.He eulogised the sacrifices made by the people of KPK in the war against terrorism and said that common people, political workers and the army had offered unprecedented sacrifices against terrorism. “I am very happy to be on Pakhtuns’ soil. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has everything like minerals, oil, gas and other resources except peace,” he said.  He strongly condemned a suicide attack on former Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed and said that the terrorists were not sparing even a religious person like Qazi Hussain Ahmad. He said it was the power of the parliament that forced General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to shed his uniform. He said he had handed over powers of his office to the parliament to empower it. “The provinces are stakeholders in Islamabad and it derives powers from the provinces in return,” he said. Earlier, the KPK Assembly speaker welcomed the president and said the assemblies were completing their tenure for the first time in the history of Pakistan due to wise and conciliatory policies of President Zardari. He lauded the president for his policy of reconciliation. Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, in his address, said President Zardari had always listened to the grievances of KPK with great attention and had always been cooperative. The chief minister said the president was well aware of the situation and the problems being faced by the government and people of the province. He, however, said, “Today, President is our guest, so we will not make any demand from him.” He said they would take guidance from the president. He said amiable atmosphere in the KPK Assembly must be an example for others. He thanked the president for addressing the assembly and applauded his policy of reconciliation.Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani said the president had established a new tradition by addressing the KPK Assembly. He asked the government to avoid use of force and resolve all matters through talks. He said the president must announce a huge package for the province.Meanwhile, Senior Minister Rahimdad Khan said the address of President Asif Ali Zardari to the Khyber Pakthunkhwa Assembly was historic and great honour for the people of the province.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 20-Nov-2012 here.