ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari has said that treading in the footsteps of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who rejected appeasement to save his life, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) workers will reject the policy of appeasement and “vow to fight the forces of regression, bigotry and intolerance and not permit them foist their regressing political agenda through force.”
He said this in a message on the eve of the 35th death anniversary of the PPP founding chairman Bhutto.
“We must confront and not fear the bigots, the militants and the zealots. Only then we will be able to rebuild our lives; only then we will be able to live in dignity and honour and in peace and make progress.”
Rejecting extremism, he called for fighting discrimination against women, minorities and the marginalised behind the facade of religion.
Paying tributes to Bhutto for giving the unanimous constitution “that refuses to be extinguished”, Zardari said that the self-sustaining power of the constitution was demonstrated a few years ago when it was purged of the changes made by successive dictators.
Today the power and resilience of the constitution is at play yet again as a dictator, who sought to subvert it, has been chased and made accountable, he said.
Bhutto’s life was curtailed in the prime of his life by those, who feared him the most through a macabre conspiracy hatched by some generals and judges of the time, he said.
But those very cowards, pygmies, dictators and political orphans, who conspired to eliminate Bhutto, are afraid of him even more while he is in grave, he said and recalled the words of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto that “by signing the death sentence, the conspirators hanged themselves and were forever condemned at the bar of history”.
Zardari paid glowing tributes to the vision of Bhutto and recalled that retrieving the territory lost in the 1971 war, bringing back over 90,000 prisoners, holding of the OIC summit that recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as the sole voice of the Palestinians and signing the Simla Agreement which together with scientific and technological capability gave Pakistan the longest spell of peace despite adventurism by dictators as some of the achievements.
It was Bhutto’s vision to build, along with Chairman Mao, strategic relationship with China at a time when it was shunned and isolated. Pakistan today is reaping the dividends of Bhutto’s vision, he said.
The former president said that Bhutto publicly lent moral and material support to Syria when it was a victim of external aggression. At the same time, he also possessed the wisdom and the vision to avoid being sucked into internal civil strife of other countries, Zardari said.
He said that Bhutto was a conqueror of hearts and minds of the people and most ordinary people, who came in direct contact with him, became extraordinary.
Bhutto lifted the spirits of the people; gave them a dream and a hope; and led and illuminated the path of modernity and enlightenment, Zardari said. The former president also paid tributes to those, who suffered for the cause of democracy, saying that democracy, federalism and constitutionalism hold the key to our survival.
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