ISLAMABAD - Former President Asif Ali Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of Karsaz tragedy and vowed that the party will carry forward the democratic and egalitarian mission of the PPP as envisioned by its leaders Benazir Bhutto and Zuylfikar Ali Bhutto.
“On the 18th day of October we pay homage to the memories of those brave sons and daughters of the nation who laid down their lives and suffered grievously when the welcoming caravan of their leader Benazir Bhutto was brutally attacked by the enemies of democracy,” said Zardari in his message on the occasion.
He said that we pledge to continue her mission to banish extremism and root out dictatorship in all its forms and manifestations.
Since the fateful day of October 18, the journey to oust dictatorship and banish militancy has witnessed important milestones, he said. Some of the milestones include the holding of elections in 2008, the sending home of the dictator on August 18, 2008, the raising again of the national flag in Swat and driving the militants out, the general elections of 2013 paving way for the peaceful transition from one democratic parliament, government and presidency to another parliament, government and presidency.
The former president cautioned the democratic forces against the dictatorial mindset that refuses to bow before the Parliament and the people’s verdict despite restoration of democracy and several milestones achieved in the path of journey.
“The days of direct assault on the Parliament are over but we must be vigilant against the dictatorial mindset that seeks to ambush the Parliament through different ways,” he said.
The former President said that the Parliament represents the will of the people and is our shield against dictatorship.
It must be strengthened, not undermined. We must stand together against all those who perceive the Parliament as a threat to their dictatorial ambitions and seek to undermine it behind various facades.
The Pakistan People’s Party will not allow anyone to undermine the Parliament. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it, he said.
Zardari said that on this day in 2007 the battle lines were clearly drawn between forces of democracy on the one hand and the militants and extremists on the other. Since then the battle lines have sharpened. The battle must continue till it is won.
“On this day we salute the courage, devotion and loyalty of martyrs and fans of democracy. They are our national heroes and heroines.
The former President asked the people to also remember in their prayers the personnel of the armed forces, civil law enforcing agencies and the people who have made untold sacrifices in the fight against extremism,” said Zardari.