Zardari vows to protect democracy

Asif Ali Zardari during a speech.—Reuters/File

LAHORE: With “Go Nawaz Go”, now the favourite catchphrase of anti-government political activists, echoing in the Bilawal House Lahore, workers of Pakistan People’s Party celebrated the party’s foundation day on Sunday.

At the ceremony, attended by front-rank PPP leaders, the party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari pledged to protect democracy and not to join any anti-government campaign.

The workers chanted the ‘go Nawaz slogan’ and Mr Zardari kept smiling and did not try to stop them.

The slogan, the rallying cry of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, appeared to reflect the workers’ desire that the PPP should also launch a campaign against the PML-N. But some of them also raised the slogan, “Ro Imran Ro” (Cry Imran cry).

Mr Zardari said: “I will not stop you from shouting ‘Go Nawaz Go’. I also like this slogan. But let me tell you that we will not play on the ground set by someone else. We will raise the slogan but on our pitch. At present the captain is bowling. When the pitch will get better, we also will go for bowling.”

Mr Zardari, who has extended his party’s support to the government in the face of PTI’s campaign against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said the government faced no threat if the PPP did not turn against it.

“The government cannot be toppled as long as we do not want it to be ousted. The Nawaz government is better than ‘Mairay Aziz Ham Watno’ (a reference to army rule). The worst democracy is better than dictatorship.”

If the PPP wanted it, it would send the government home in a democratic manner without looking for a “third umpire”, he said.

The former president criticised the harsh language Imran Khan used against him and paid him back in the same coin. “A wolf camping in Islamabad these days has polluted the environment. There is a difference between his politics and ours. He is a short-sighted person. We have to answer him in Ghari Khuda Buksh,” he said.

“Such people have no understanding of international politics. They don’t know what is happening in Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and other Islamic countries and what will be its impact on Pakistan. They need to learn politics to understand this,” he said.

Also read: Zardari vows to defend democracy

Referring to last year’s general elections, he said that the PPP was also a victim (of alleged rigging) but it did not take any step against national interests.

“On the foundation day of the PPP we pledge to protect democracy till our last breath and to continue our struggle for the welfare of future generations.”

Mr Zardari said that Benazir Bhutto was his political mentor and she had made him “protector of PPP workers”.

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