Zardari, Bilawal vow to uphold democracy

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday reiterated the party’s commitment to upholding democracy, freedom of citizens and autonomy of the federating units.

Paying tribute to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on his 39th death anniversary, Bilawal said that the Pakistani nation would feel the pain of Bhutto’s loss for ages but those who killed him had fallen into the dustbin of history forever.

Bilawal said that Bhutto gave the state a vibrant, unanimous and strong structure through the 1973 constitution and reunited the Muslim world as a global force.

He said that Bhutto launched both macroeconomic and microeconomic projects to uplift the whole country and its citizens without any discrimination.

Bilawal pointed out that Bhutto was aware of maintaining the regional security balance and launched a nuclear programme for an impregnable defence of the country. He got 90,000 Pakistani troopers held as prisoners of war (POW) freed from the Indian camps and recovered the occupied Pakistani territory back through his diplomatic skills, he added.

He said that the Bhutto inspired the whole nation and brought out politics from the drawing rooms to the streets. He further said that Bhutto initiated mega projects and industrial units of immense importance at the time.

“He was a friend of the poor, downtrodden and voiceless,” he said. “He enlightened peasants, industrial workers, women, students and common people about their importance and their right to franchise,” he added.

The PPP chairman said that Bhutto showed the nation how to live and die proudly and the courage he displayed during his life and death made him a tall icon in Pakistan as well as in the world.

Meanwhile, in a message, Zardari said that Bhutto gave the country a constitution based on the principles of respect for human rights and autonomy of the federating units.

He said that the 18th amendment to the constitution, given unanimously by the PPP government, was aimed at removing the distortions introduced in the 1973 constitution by dictators and to protect and strengthen the rights of citizens as well as the provinces.

The PPP co-chairman said that it must be remembered that the 18th amendment had the consensus of all federating units and provinces. Disrespecting the political consensus and tinkering with it in an unconstitutional manner would be a political disaster, he warned.

“Today as we rededicate ourselves to the political ideals of Bhutto we also pledge to protect and defend democracy, individual freedom and provincial autonomy,” Zardari said.

He said that Bhutto taught that all power belonged to the people and the power must flow from the ballot box and not from the bullet. Bhutto was an extraordinary leader and innumerable ordinary people who came in contact with him themselves became extraordinary, he added.

He further said that Bhutto’s greatest achievement was that he gave hope to the people at a time when hope seemed to elude them and he lit the path with his blood when there was darkness everywhere.

Zardari also paid homage to all those who sacrificed their lives and suffered in the cause of democracy.