ISLAMABAD -   Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said the Pakistan People’s Party fought successive dictatorships in the past for democracy .

In a message on the eve of November 30 to mark the golden jubilee of the founding of the PPP , he said the party was proud of its record in the service of the people.

“Its slogan ‘power belongs to the people’ has shaped the political landscape of the country during the past half a century. Indeed it is ingrained in the consciousness of the people that will never be erased,” Zardari said.

The PPP leader said apart from fighting successive dictatorships the PPP gave the country its unanimous constitution, strengthened defence by giving the missile and nuclear programme, created Council of Common Interest to give say to the provinces, gave collective voice to Muslim countries, won back the territory lost in 1971 and emancipated women, workers, farmers and the oppressed classes.

“It is the PPP that stopped India and Pakistan from going to war through Simla agreement. It is the PPP that protected the human rights of every citizen by introducing the habeas corpus for the first time in the history of Pakistan,” he added.

In the pursuit of its principles and ideals two successive chairpersons of the party and countless workers have laid down their lives, Zardari said. He said it was a record and a distinction in democratic struggle that has “not been equalled- much less surpassed - by any political party in the country. We believe that political change must come only through fair and free ballot.”

“The party has always rejected and will continue to reject manipulated power transfer. We reject re-engineering of political landscape under any pretext and we will fight against any attempt to impose religious apartheid in the country. We pledge to frustrate any attempt by un-elected individuals and institutions to usurp people’s power,” Zardari said.

The PPP co-chairman paid homage to the leaders and workers of the party and all democratic political workers who had made enormous sacrifices in the course of the party’s historic democratic struggle.

“When democratic workers were fighting dictatorship there were also those in the state institutions ready to submit before the dictators, taking oath of allegiance and providing dictatorship legitimacy. This makes our workers stand tall and their sacrifices even more glorious. The party salutes all these valiant workers for their commitment and sacrifices made for the cause. The party would not have been standing tall today without their sacrifices,” he said.

Zardari felicitated all the party workers throughout the country and overseas.

“It is an occasion of festivities as well as of stock taking, reorganisation and soul searching for all democratic political workers in the country,” he maintained.