ISLAMABAD - Former president and Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Asif Ali Zardari yesterday condemned the targeted assassination of Malik Muhammad Aslam Channa, PPP candidate for the chairmanship of Union Council and membership of district council in Dibalpur Tehsil of Okara and two other party workers.

The pre-meditated murder of the PPP candidate and workers on the eve of bye-elections ahead of Local Bodies’ polls has raised legitimate questions about who is behind these murders, he said in a statement, adding: “The Party demands a transparent and thorough probe into the murders and also to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice at the earliest.”

Asif Zardari said that Malik Muhammad Aslm Channa was a diehard party activist, known for fearlessness and personal integrity and commitment and enjoyed popularity in his area across the board. As party president of the provincial constituency 188 Malik Aslam had rendered great services to mobilise the workers on the one hand and expose the corruption and wrong doing of the government in power.

There are also suspicions that on the eve of bye elections and the forthcoming local bodies’ elections, the un-nerved government wanted to send a tough message to political opponents as it unsuccessfully did last year by killing over a dozen over a dozen political workers in Model Town Lahore. These suspicions must be addressed.

Zardari also called for arrest of the assailants and bringing them to justice in accordance with the law. He also prayed for eternal rest to the souls of Malik Aslam Chaa and the party workers and patience to members of the bereaved family.

Expressing profound condolences to the families of the martyred workers Asif Zardai said that the party will go as far as required to expose and punish the culprits in accordance with the law. He also directed the Punjab provincial President Mian Manzoor Wattoo to visit the bereaved families on his behalf and to keep him posted about the progress in investigations in the case and arrest of the culprits.