LAHORE - In a startling revelation on the occasion of PPP's 47th foundation day, party's de facto chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday warned the party men against presence of black sheep within the party who he said are trying to hijack the party command from the actual heir to the political legacy of Bhuttos.

"This is not for the first time that some friends from within the party, intentionally or unintentionally, have tried to change the leadership. But it is because of you people (workers) that they have never been successful to expel us from the party,” he said.

Addressing a small gathering of charged party workers at Bilawal House Lahore amid slogans of 'Aik Zardari sab pe bhhari' (One Zardari can outsmart all), the PPP chief said:"My friends, we will have to keep the party politics safe from our 'own men' as well as others!"

Though it is difficult to ascertain which party men are conspiring against him, but from the choice of his words it was quite evident that the former president was alluding to some latest moves made from within the party to dislodge him from his present position. Party sources believe that rebellion of Naheed Khan and Dr Safdar Abbasi against the present leadership was an old story now and the ex-president might be referring to some other party men.

Asif Zardari further stated that he was keeping a watchful eye on every political jackal whether inside or outside the party. He also asked party workers to be vigilant about it.

The PPP boss uttered these remarks in the presence of senior party leaders including Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Aitzaz Ahsan, Khurshid Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Jehnagir Badar, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Makhdum Shahabuddin and Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo.

Responding to Jehangir Badr's speech in which he had enumerated the sacrifices rendered by PPP workers for the party cause, Zardari said he appreciated their struggle and sacrifices, but at the same time they should also remember the sacrifices made by his family.

"I appreciate their sacrifices, but they should also keep in mind those of my family. Place your sacrifices in one container and that of my family in the other to see which side is heavier on the scale. And then talk eyeball to eyeball with me", he remarked in an angry tone.

During the course of his speech, workers raised the slogans of 'Go Nawaz Go', 'Go Wattoo Go' and 'Go Badr Go'. But he opted to respond to one of these despite saying he liked all the slogans. "I also like 'Go Nawaz Go' slogan, but it is not the right time to dislodge the Sharif government", he maintained. "But I would not ask you people to stop chanting this," he added.

He told party workers that PPP would chose its own time to remove the present regime. "We are not in a hurry. Let the captain (Imran) bowl first and exhaust himself. We would take his place at some later stage and oust the Sharifs", he affirmed, adding, "PPP would play on its own political pitch when the time comes".

The rest of Zardari’s speech focused mainly on the PTI politics. The PPP chief called Imran a "political jackal" trying to derail the system. "He does not understand international politics. He is novice in politics and needs a tutor", he observed, adding, he himself learnt the art of politics from his wife Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari said Imran was doing politics in connivance with the umpire and he did not approve of it. "I don't want to conspire against democracy by merely getting impressed by the four-month old TV drama", he said in reference to the PTI sit-in at Islamabad. He said even the worst form of democracy was better than dictatorship.

"I consider Nawaz Sharif government better than the one who comes and starts his speech with the words: Mairay aziz humwatno (My dear countrymen)”.He said those who have got the mandate for five years should be allowed to complete their term.

Earlier, the workers disrupted the speeches of some party leaders by raising slogans particularly against Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo and Jehangir Badr. Voices were also heard against PPP's Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki among the crowd.

"We have conveyed our message to the top leadership. It is now up to them to decide", sources quoted an angry worker as having said this on the occasion. Meanwhile, the security staff gave free access to party workers to enter the Bilawal House though they were frisked for security reasons. As per an earlier decision, the entry into the venue was to be allowed after checking their names from the lists.

Agencies add: Earlier addressing the function, Mian manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, PresidentPunjab PPP, highly appreciated the successful efforts of party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in salvaging democracy in the country.

Wattoo said the people consider him as symbol of saviour of democracy. He said that his role for the cause of democracy would be written in the political history of the country as a shining example. He further said he had rescued the democratic dispensation under the most difficult conditions.

Wattoo observed that there was no possibility of martial law in the country anymore and therefore it was the right time to raise the voice against the anti-people policies of this government.

He referred to the plight of the farmers who were undergoing testing times due to the abject low support price of paddy and sugarcane. The common man is also leading miserable life due to price hike, unemployment, loadshedding of electricity and gas and the worsening law and order situation. The criminal act of the government regarding overbilling of electricity to the tune of Rs70 billion was unforgiving and they did not even care to give an explanation, he added.