ISLAMABAD - Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said Thursday the Pakistan People’s Party will always stand with democracy.

The PPP believes it was being victimised by the government in the garb of action against the corrupt elements.

On Thursday, an Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi remanded former Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain – a close aide of PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari – to police custody for four days.

Dr Hussain faces charges of providing medical treatment to terrorists. He was earlier in the custody of Rangers on a 90-day remand. On Tuesday, Zardari was acquitted in two high-profile - Societe Generale Surveillance and Cotecna corruption - corruption cases. Already, he was cleared in three more - the ARY Gold, Polog Ground and Ursus Tractor references.

While happy over Zardari’s acquittal, the PPP claims its senior leaders were being hounded by the authorities just to ‘victimise’ the party.

Addressing a news conference here, Raja Pervez Ashraf said the PPP has always been at the receiving end despite supporting the democratic system under all circumstances.

“We have been punished for supporting democracy. Those who filed cases against our leadership are still in power,” he said.

Ashraf said the PPP ran the government in the centre and provinces for five years but did not arrest even a single politician. He said soon as the PPP lost power, it was dealt with the same treatment.

“Time will tell the new cases are also politically motivated and not aimed at eliminating corruption,” he maintained.

The PPP leader said the government must be careful in launching high-profile cases against politicians. “If there is evidence, the person must be held accountable but no one should be sent behind the bars for opposing the government’s policies,” he contended.

Ashraf recalled – during his tenure as the PM - he was humiliated by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chauhdhry for contempt of court.

“I did nothing wrong but the Chief Justice tried to humiliate an elected PM. This was part of the conspiracy to defame the PPP,” he remarked.

Speaking on the occasion, senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said the party was victimised by successive regimes.

“We stood strong against dictatorships and even when this government needed support, we were there for them. We have been supporting democracy but receiving lashes in response,” he said.

Kaira said the witch-hunt of the PPP leaders must be stopped and the government should concentrate on improving governance.

The former information minister said the PPP was against corruption but will not tolerate victimisation of party leaders. “Action must be taken only on solid evidences,” he added.