ISLAMABAD/LARKANA - Former president Asif Ali Zardari has said that treading in the footsteps of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who rejected appeasement to save his life, the party workers have rejected 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'.
"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," said former President in a message on the eve of the 35th martyrdom anniversary of party's founder Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Paying tributes to the founding Chairman for giving the unanimous constitution, 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 thereby disallowing dictatorship to take root.
"Today the power and resilience of the Constitution is at play yet again as a dictator who sought to subvert it is chased and made accountable," he said.
Zardari paid glowing tributes to the vision of Zaulfikar Ali Bhutto and recalled 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.
The former President said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto publicly lent moral and material support to Syria when it was a victim of external aggression.
Zardari said that Bhutto was a conqueror of the hearts and minds of people and most ordinary people who came in direct contact with him became extraordinary - the true hall mark of a great leader.
The former President also paid tributes to those who suffered for the cause of democracy saying that democracy, federalism and constitutionalism held the key to our survival. Meanwhile, the 35th death anniversary of PPP Founding Chairman and former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is being observed with great reverence and respect at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh as well as across the country on Thursday.
On this occasion, former President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto along with MNAs, PMAs and other party leaders reached a day before in Naudero and Larkana to address the event organised in front of the ancestral graveyard of the Bhutto family in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.
The caravans of the party leaders and workers reached Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to pay tribute to their beloved leader and former Prime Minister Shaheed Zuflikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.
The anniversary programmes and related activities were to begin at midnight of April 3, but now they will start on April 4 at noon for security reasons. It was disclosed officially by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qam Ali Shah and other authorities.
Thousands of PPP activists will start offering fateha at the graves of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Shahnawaz Bhutto and others on Friday morning. The leaders and workers of PPP-Shaheed Bhutto will also pay homage to the great leader of Asia, spokesperson for the party, Inayat Hussain, told The Nation.
The PPP will organise the main public gathering in front of Shaheed ZA Bhutto Mausoleum as decided by a CEC meeting at Bhutto House in Naudero. It was also decided at the meeting to hold a big public gathering at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh where a documentary on the life and achievements of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto will be shown.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a great statesman, served the country as the 4th president from December 1971 to 1973 and as the 9th prime minister from 1973 to 1977.
He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Awam. He was also the founder of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until his execution on April 4, 1979. Educated at University of California at Berkeley and Oxford University, Bhutto also did bar-at-law at Lincoln’s Inn in London.
He entered politics as one of the then President Iskander Mirza’s cabinet members, before being assigned several ministries during President Ayub Khan’s military rule from 1958. He was appointed foreign minister in 1963.