LAHORE - Upon his arrival at Bilawal House, Lahore, after leaving the Presidency in Islamabad on Sunday, outgoing president Asif Ali Zardari told a gathering of PPP workers that some powers, which he would not like to name, were bent upon creating disturbance in the country.

“Some international powers have already spread fire in a part of the region, and now they want to do the same in Pakistan,” he warned. But Zardari did not elaborate his point leaving it to the audience to get at the meaning.  “But such powers could never succeed in their nefarious designs,” he affirmed. Zardari said it was easy to lit fire, but difficult to control the inferno. “Those who have taken up arms should know that the war is not over yet and we have not lost it,” he remarked without naming the enemy.

He told the party workers: “A Jiyala had done what no one else could in the last sixty years.”

Reiterating the resolve to protect democracy, outgoing president assured Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that his party, Pakistan People’s Party, would not allow anyone to derail the government and would rather support it against anti-people forces. “We believe in democracy and would always stand by it for prosperity,” he added.  Zardari believed PPP’s mandate was snatched in the May 11 elections. “We accepted the election results for the sake of democracy,” he said.

To substantiate his claim that PPP’s mandate was stolen, he said, “It is simply unbelievable that PPP’s tsunami starting from Karachi and passing through entire Sindh would end up all of a sudden upon reaching the Punjab borders.”

Zardari said he believed that PPP founder chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were watching him from the heaven. “We have completed their mission by strengthening democracy in the country,” he added.

He said the time of public politics had come and his doors would remain open for the workers all the time. “Now I have the responsibility of my party workers instead of the country,” he said.

He said it was a difficult task for PPP to run a government and work for national interests at the same time. Zardari said he was free now from constitutional restrictions and would focus on organising the party.

Earlier, Zardari was warmly welcomed by PPP leaders and workers at Bilawal House. Senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ehsan, who took the centre stage, delivered a welcome speech on the occasion.  Absence of two former prime ministers, Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was somewhat conspicuous.  Sources said they were asked to stay away from the event as last time partymen did not like their presence at Bilawal House. The two had also faced strong criticism from jiyalas at that time, who held them responsible for PPP’s defeat in the May elections.

Sardar Latif Khosa, Manzoor Wattoo, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, Bushra Aitzaz, Faiza Malik, Rehman Malik, Prime Minister, AJK, Ch Abdul Majeed, President AJK, Ch Yaqoob, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan, Mehdi Shah and Zamurd Khan were prominent on the occasion among over 4,000 PPP workers who participated in the welcome reception from different parts of the country.