President vows to defend democracy, institution-building

NAUDERO: President Asif Ali Zardari vowed tostoutly defend the democracy and institution building so that democracy could take roots in the country.He was addressing a gathering here on Tuesday in connection withthe 58th birth anniversary of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.”We are moving ahead with thephilosophy and vision of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and ShaheedMohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Zardari added.”He said that if any “political actors” tried to weaken democracy,the PPP would face such elements and frustrate their designs.President Zardari said that our approach was to strengthen theinstitutions whether they were of armed forces, judiciary, politicalinstitutions or even media.He also urged the “political actors to stop their negative propaganda against institutions.”The president said that the country was playing the role ofa frontline state in the war against terrorism.He said that our 35,000 people have sacrificed their lives and5,000 personnel of security forces have also embraced martyrdom forthe sake of the country. This is our own war, he stressed.The president said that we were sacrificing our sons and daughtersfor the sake of the country.He said that the future of Pakistan was bright and not dismal asportrayed by the “political actors”.President Zardari said that the policy of reconciliation should not be taken as a sign of any weakness. We want to take all the parties along in accordance with the philosophy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, he said.

The government restored the 1973Constitution which was given by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. TheKhyber Pakhtoonkhawa has been given its identity, Zardari mentioned.He said that country’s political forces to play their due role instrengthening Pakistan’s institutions and refrain from incitingclash of institutions.The president said the country’s vital national institutionsincluding the army were fighting against the mindset, which haskilled thousands of our people including Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.He criticized PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Shariffor speaking against the institutions and said the jawans andofficers of army were rendering sacrifices and giving their livesfor the country and nation.”He (Nawaz) wants the politics of General Zia-ul-Haq,” heremarked and added that the mindset which took the life of ShaheedBenazir Bhutto is being defeated.”

Some political actors are also disturbedover the government’s policy of reconciliation as “we allied withMQM, PML-Q and others” to strengthen democracy, he added.He said that he became the president with two third majority although the PPP had only one third majority in the parliament.He said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the pioneer ofPakistan’s nuclear programme while Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto gave themissile programme to strengthen the defence of the country.President Zardari, referring to the fight against militancy,said it was our war as it had taken the lives of our 35,000 peopleincluding the personnel of armed forces.Strong armed forces are essential for the strengthof a country, he mentioned.The president said the PPP-led government would strengthen allthe national institutions including army and won’t let the democracy get hurt.

He said, “Our political opponents were afraid of ourpopularity and the expected majority in the Senate”.”I was elected president with a majority vote,” he said and added the PPP-led government restored the 1973 Constitution through 18th and 19th Constitutional Amendments.The president said that he was neither afraid of politicalactors nor cares for headlines, adding, “but some political leadersgive statements for tomorrow’s headlines.”Zardari paid rich tribute to Shaheed Mohtarma BenazirBhutto and said she and her father had sacrificed their lives for thecountry and nation.He congratulated the people of Sindh for generouslydonating blood on the birth anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhuttoand said, “The blood donated today in Sindh is in such a quantitythat it can be used by other provinces as well.”President Zardari said the donated blood is used for thepeople and personnel, who are fighting against militancy. – Brecorder