February 15, 2008

Establishment has to go, says Zardari

Filed under: ELECTIONS - 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 9:42 pm
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Friday, February 15, 2008, Safar 7, 1429 A.H.

Updated at  
Hopes to win majority; warns against rigging

By Sardar Akhtar

FAISALABAD: The Pakistan People�s Party is poised to secure a landslide victory in the February 18 general elections after which the party will eliminate chances of undemocratic forces staying in power, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said here Thursday evening.

Addressing a big gathering at Iqbal Park (Dhobi Ghat Ground), he said valiant PPP workers had already offered great sacrifices for the country and made hectic efforts for the restoration of democracy. He said dedicated party workers would frustrate designs of anti-democratic forces if they tried to rig the polls.

Zardari hoped their party would win more than 50 per cent seats in the parliament and form the government if elections were fair and transparent. He warned that any manipulation of the election results would be detrimental to the federation, so those at the helm should desist from rigging.

He said those who had assassinated PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto had virtually stifled the democratic norms, and would face a crushing defeat in the elections. He said Benazir Bhutto had returned home to save Pakistan and laid down her life for the country.

The PPP leader said the party would accomplish Benazir�s mission for complete restoration of democracy. He said 160 million Pakistanis were with the PPP and other patriotic parties and would wage a war against the anti-democratic forces.

He praised the people of Punjab and said the province had not usurped rights of Sindh or committed any atrocities against Bengalis. He said a �specific group� was usurping the rights of labourers in Punjab and Sindh by clinging to power.

He spoke highly of the Punjab PPP workers who lost their lives along with Benazir Bhutto at Liaquat Bagh. He said they were not in favour of autopsy of Benazir Bhutto but the question arose why the government did not arrange the post-mortem of PPP workers killed in the attack.

Zardari said time was not far when the people would change the oppressive system. He said the PPP would not rest till the restoration of full democracy. He said PPP founder Zulfikar Ali had raised the slogan of �Roti, Kapra Aur Makan� but his daughter Benazir Bhutto saw that dream come true during her tenure as prime minister.

He said Benazir Bhutto wanted to secure fundamental rights for the oppressed and the PPP would continue her mission. He said the PPP considered the restoration of democracy a jihad. PPP�s Punjab president Shah Mehmud Qureshi and leader Jahangir Badr also spoke on the occasion, calling on party workers to continue their struggle for the restoration of true democracy. They said Faisalabad was indeed a PPP fortress from where its candidates would sweep the elections.

They said the change had set in the country that nobody could revert. They urged party workers to stand united to thwart the designs of anti-state forces.Agencies add: Zardari urged people to fight for change and vote for the PPP. �I came to Punjab to save Pakistan, Bhutto�s Pakistan,� Zardari said.

�Our struggle is for change,� Zardari said. �We know the fight is difficult but I have faith in you … Vote for the People�s Party to save Pakistan.� Security for the rally was tight and police marksmen posted on rooftops overlooking the rally ground.

Zardari did not mention Musharraf in his speech but in a reference to the military and the civilian bureaucracy, said �the establishment� had to go.

He asked supporters to �besiege� polling stations to ensure results are announced fairly. Cheers and chants of �Long live Bhutto� rang out as Zardari addressed about 20,000 people at the PPP election. �We are not afraid of them, we will besiege the polling stations till the election results are announced in the presence of the party�s polling agents,� Zardari said.

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