President Asif Ali Zardari has vowed to stoutly 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 with the 58th birth anniversary of Shaheed Mohtama Benazir Bhutto. President Zardari said “we are moving ahead with the philosophy and vision on Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.” He said that if any “political actors” tried to weaken democracy the PPP would confront such elements and frustrate their designs.
PML-N Chief Maulvi Nawaz Sharif for questioning the role of institutions and trying to pit the government against the army. President Asif Ali Zardari
President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday called upon political forces to work for strengthening the country’s institutions and refrain from inciting clash of institutions.
“Institutions should not be made to fight individuals because this weakens democracy,” said the president in the address to workers of the Pakistan Peoples Party at the Naudero President’s House that began a little after midnight on Wednesday (today).
The president outlined what he felt were his government’s primary achievements and defended his party’s record in office.
President Zardari claimed that he had been offered several deals by his predecessor, former president Pervez Musharraf, but that his party had rejected those and had chosen to ally themselves with their erstwhile political rivals, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in order to strengthen democratic institutions.
“We handed over Punjab to the PML-N on a silver platter,” said the president, who has made visible moves in recent months to ensure that the Sharif brothers, who lead Punjab’s ruling party, do not feel threatened about their administration in the province.
Yet the president seemed to grow weary of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s accusations against his government and lashed out at his political rival in his first public response since the May 2 US raid on Abbottabad.
He accused the PML-N leader of being a product of former military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq’s rule, and lambasted the opposition for what he claimed was its soft stance on terrorism.
- “If we have lost 35,000 of our own sons and daughters, how can you claim this is America’s war?” said the president, in a rhetorical question addressed to Nawaz Sharif “How is your thinking different from that of (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar?”.
Even as he accused the opposition of being a product of a military dictator, however, the president defended the armed forces that have come under an unprecedented level of public criticism in Pakistan, a torrent of negative public opinion that has been led by fiery speeches by the PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the opposition leader in the National Assembly.
“Those who think they can divide Pakistan’s armed forces are naive politicians,” said the president. “Our military is a highly capable institution.”