ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians chief Asif Ali Zardari yesterday said locus of power was shifting away from the people towards unelected elements.

In January, Zardari said the ‘sacred cow syndrome’ was one of the worst forms of corruption.

And in June last year, the PPPP chief - presently abroad for ‘medical treatment’ - had made a controversial speech, warning Generals to stop victimising his party or he would expose their ‘misdeeds.’

His statement came amid allegations of corruption, land-grabbing, smuggling of Iranian oil and extortion levelled by the para-military Rangers against the PPPP-led Sindh government.

In a message on the death anniversary of party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto – to be observed today (Monday) - he said Bhutto’s example was even more relevant today than ever before.

“Bhutto instilled in the people that they alone were the fountain of all political power and it is this realisation that has not permitted dictatorship to take roots in the country. In these troubled times when the locus of power is shifting away from the people towards unelected elements the example of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is even more relevant today than ever before,” he said.

Zardari added, “On the eve of 37th martyrdom anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto I ask the democracy loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideal that all power must flow from the ballot box and not from the bullet”.

He said Bhutto awakened the people and gave them the strength of hope and the hope of strength. “He illumined the path traversed by the generations that followed him. No one can rob him of his great achievements,” the PPPP chief said.

“Indeed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto stands tall as a beacon of light, hope and inspiration for the people,” he added.

Zardari said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave the nation the gifts of a unanimous democratic Constitution and a strong national defence.

“This twin legacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto must be protected at all costs,” he said.

“On this day as we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of democracy we also pay homage to all those who laid down their lives and endured exile, torture and imprisonment for the cause of democracy,” the former president said.

Meanwhile, former interior minister Rehman Malik yesterday asked the democracy loving people of Pakistan to follow the models of democracy. He said only the democracy could empower the people and make the country peaceful, stronger and prosperous. “The best pattern of democracy in the history of Pakistan is certainly Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who introduced the nation with democracy,” he said.

Malik said terrorism was the most dangerous threat to Pakistan and in such an upsetting situation “the nation needs unanimity” and to follow the principles set by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Paying tribute to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on his death anniversary, Senator Rehman Malik said that charismatic leaders like Bhutto were born once in a century.

“Such leaders architect the history and are remembered forever as a role model for their struggle, services and sacrifices for the wellbeing of the country and its people,” he added. He said Bhutto was a true leader of poor, oppressed and browbeaten section of the society who gave them strength, dignity and self-respect.

He said Bhutto was definitely the herald of new standards, struggle and sacrifices in the politics of Pakistan and the Third World.

“Bhutto transformed the heights of our struggle and introduced us with genuine democracy and gave us courage of speaking for own rights,” he said. “ZA Bhutto gave the nation awareness and valued the poor”, he added.

Malik said, “For decades, Pakistan was short of constitution and through wisdom and vision, Bhutto made it possible to unite all the political parties to agree to a harmony on the new constitution. He gave the nation a solid constitution,” said Senator Malik.

“Decades passed but the constitution given by Bhutto is still a sacred and national document for democrats of every party including the religious parties of the country,” he said.

The former interior minister said when India became nuclear power, Bhutto was agitated and was ready to eat grass or even sleep empty stomach but to get nuclear power to shun away the escalating threat from India.

“ZA Bhutto even sacrificed his life but gave Pakistan a strength of an empowered nation. We all are proud of him,” Senator Malik said.

“India broke Pakistan in 1971 and is still hatching conspiracies against Pakistan and most recent example is the arrest of its top spy. In order to deal with the threats from our enemies, we need to apply the eyesight, vision and wisdom of ZA Bhutto in letter and spirit,” said Senator Malik.

He added, “Undeniably Bhutto stands tall as a beacon of light, faith and inspiration for the people of Pakistan and for the democrats around the world.”

Malik said that today the nation had Bhutto in shape of Bilawal in whose veins the brave blood of ZA Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto was running. He hoped the young leader can take the country out of the quagmire of today’s multiple crises.