ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that the Pakistan People’s Party will not save ‘Nawaz Sharif’s democracy’ anymore but will work to protect the real democracy.
Addressing a PPP well-attended rally here to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of the party’s founding, Zardari said the PPP saved Sharif twice but was not ready to stand behind the embattled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief – who faces corruption cases after being disqualified by the Supreme Court in July this year for hiding assets.
The PPP co-chairman said that dictatorship had no future as democracy was on the ‘superhighway’. “The dictators have a past or present but no future. (Pervez) Musharraf is not finding a way to return to Pakistan. He is running away and taking refuge abroad,” Zardari said.
The former president said that there will be no change in the country except ‘vote’ and the PPP will bring reforms to put the country back on the road to prosperity.
Zardari blasted Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan calling them as ‘fake mandate,’ Godfather and ‘fake Khan’. “The Godfather and the fake Khan are not ready to listen. They are hoodwinking the nation on a fake mandate,” he said.
The former president earlier danced to the tunes of famous PPP anthems as he praised the activists who attended the rally in large numbers. PPP leaders including Senator Sherry Rehman encouraged their leader as he moved his body.
Zardari said that on every foundation day of the PPP, he remembers his late wife Benazir Bhutto, who would have been proud to see her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerging as a leader. “I present to you Bilawal. I am sure you people would be loyal to my children the way you were to Benazir Bhutto and me,” he said.
Zardari said the PPP fulfilled Benazir Bhutto’s vision during its rule from 2008-2013. The former president said that he spent 11 years in jail and the PPP leaders sacrificed their lives in the past to promote democracy. “Now we are in a much better position. The analysts have started to acknowledge Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and myself,” he said.
The PPP leader said that Bhutto gave the country the nuclear programme to make the defence invincible. Benazir Bhutto, he said, continued his mission and fought dictators.
Zardari said that his party will eliminate terrorism when it returns to power. He said the borders will be made safer with Afghanistan.
“We will work with other countries. Terrorism is a common enemy. We will make the border safer and cooperate with Afghanistan,” he said.
Zardari said that India will not be able to turn Pakistan into another Nepal. “We are a nuclear power. Our population is our power. They (India) will not be able to treat us as Nepal,” he asserted.
The PPP leader said that his party will fight for peace in the country and hold talks where necessary.
Addressing the massive rally, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that his party will ensure the writ of the government if it returned to power.
He said that whenever the PPP came to power, it had to clear the wrongdoings of the dictators. “Be it in 1971, 1988 or 2008, we never had an ideal time to come to power. We had to clean the past and clear the future,” he said.
Bilawal said that Islam rejected extremism and his party will not let the nation fall to the extremists. The PPP chief said that he took over the PPP leadership at a difficult time after the assassination of his mother Benazir Bhutto.
“This is the third generation (of the Bhuttos) which is carrying on the legacy for the sake of democracy. I congratulate those who have laid the basis of the PPP and stood against the dictatorship. We stood for the unity of the country,” he said.
Bilawal said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundation of democracy and had revolted against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. He said that under the dictatorships, the economic progress led to ethnic divides. “The resources were restricted to feudal lords and a particular section of the society. Benazir Bhutto raised her voice against terrorists,” he said.
Bilawal said Benazir Bhutto did not compromise in her struggle against the martial laws and the terrorists. The PPP chief said his mother was active in politics for 30 years and only remained in power for four years. “For 26 years, she struggled against the injustice and dictatorship,” he said.
He said that keeping in view Bhutto’s legacy, the struggle against dictatorship will not end until Pakistan “becomes a true social democratic state”. He pledged to introduce reforms to end poverty and unemployment.
Bilawal said that under the guidance of his father Zardari, the PPP will take steps for the welfare of the people. He counted the schemes taken by the PPP including the 18th amendment, the National Finance Commission Award, the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package and the merger of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“For the next 50 years, the PPP will keep serving the people. We will bring reforms,” he said, ending his speech with the couplet of famous poet Ahmed Faraz and slogans.
PPP won’t save ‘Nawaz’s democracy’: Zardari