LAHORE - On the occasion of its 42nd foundation day, the PPP renewed its pledge to complete the mission of party founder Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and former party chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, who sacrificed their lives while fighting for the rights of the downtrodden. The party leadership also vowed to strengthen the hands of Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to steer the country out of varying crises facing the country at the moment. A large number of PPP leaders and workers from across Punjab gathered here at Alhamra Cultural Complex to mark the day. Unlike previous ceremonies on the party's foundation day, the number of participants this time around was much bigger. Party workers from far-flung areas had also reached City to join the celebrations, but many could not enter the venue because of limited seating capacity and high security-check outside the cultural complex. The entire venue was decorated with party flags, banners and large portraits of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and other senior leaders. From beginning to the end of the ceremony, charged party workers kept chanting slogans like, "Zinda hai BB zinda hai, zinda hai Bhutto zinda hai, aik Zardari sab pe bhhari, BB hum sharminda hain, tairay qatil zinda hain". Federal and provincial ministers, MNAs, MPAs, party office bearers and a good number of party workers were present to pay homage to party leaders who struggled against dictatorship and sacrificed their lives for democracy. While remembering the sacrifices made by ZA Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and other party martyrs for democratic rights of the oppressed, some speakers in their speeches also criticised party policies, and the way government affairs were being run by a few people. Party secretary general Jehangir Badr, Punjab President Rana Aftab, Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme, Farzana Raja, MNA, Mahreen Anwar Raja, Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul, Ghulam Abbas, Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz, Minister for Labour Ashraf Sohna, Lahore President Azizur Rehman Chan, senior party leader Altaf Qureshi, Zekria Butt, Samiulla Khan, MPAs, Azma Zahid Bukhari, Sajida Mir, Faiza Malik, Naveed Ch, Munir Ahmad Khan, Aslim Gill, Aslam Gurdaspuri, Wajid Ali Shah and Tahir Khalique were prominent on the occasion. A fiery and emotional speech by senior PPP leader Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gull was the hallmark of the ceremony. He made frequent references to the party ideology, which he believed, many had forgotten. He was of the view that PPP is not a political party or organisation; it is rather the name of an ideology. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was chief guest on the occasion, said that he was present there as party worker and not in his capacity as Governor. He said PPP would materialise the dream of Shaheed Bhutto under the dynamic leadership of Asif Zardari. "Today is the day of reiterating the pledge of taking forward the mission of ZA Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto," he said. He said that he had pledged with himself to turn Punjab province into the PPP bastion. He said that PPP is the only national party, which always rendered supreme sacrifices for restoration of democracy, progress and prosperity of Pakistan. Jehangir Badr said this was the day to renew pledge to fulfil the mission of ZA Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Badr lauded the role of party workers who kept the party intact when several landlords and capitalists left party founder ZA Bhutto in the lurch upon his imprisonment during Zia's era. MNA Farzana Raja dispelled the impression created by certain speakers in their speeches, that party workers were highly disappointed over party's performance. She said it was not true. She made it clear that PPP's policy of rapprochement should not be construed as its weakness, because the only motive behind this offer of rapprochement with all political forces was to find a way out to numerous problems facing the country at the moment. Altaf Qureshi said it was the right time to revert back to basics to materialise the party's objectives for which it was created 42 years ago. PPP Punjab General Secretary, Ghulam Abbas criticised the way party was being run by people who, according to him, had nothing to do with the party. In an implicit reference to Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, he used abusive language against caretaker ministers of General (r) Musharraf's government when the tragic incident of Benazir Bhutto's murder took place. MPA Azma Bukhari said that PPP knew how to snatch its due right from the usurpers. She said her party was also conversant with the art of saving the country from internal as well as external dangers. Sajida Mir asked Zardari to break down the wall of bureaucracy around him and mingle up with workers; otherwise, she threatened, the party would vanish and that would also be detrimental to the country.