I will never give up on my mother`s Pak: Bilawal

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 13:37

Islamabad: Ruling Pakistan People`s Party
chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said he will never give up on
his mother slain former premier Benazir Bhutto`s dream of a
peaceful and progressive Pakistan as her commitment to
democracy has empowered the country in many ways.

"My mother died fighting for a peaceful, prosperous and
progressive Pakistan. I will never give up on my mother`s
Pakistan. I will never give up on the woman who sacrificed
herself so Pakistan could be free," Bilawal wrote in an
article marking the fourth anniversary of Bhutto`s
assassination.

"Her dreams are now my dreams that are my promises to
you; that is my promise to her," wrote the 23-year-old who has
begun playing a larger role in the affairs of the PPP since
his father, President Asif Ali Zardari, was embroiled in the
Memogate scandal last month.

Referring to his mother`s killing by a suicide attacker
in Rawalpindi four years ago, Bilawal wrote in The Express
Tribune: "Had we chosen the path of revolution over evolution
on that fateful December 27, both the army and the (PPP) would
have been weakened. That would have left the only other armed
group, the terrorists, with the opportunity to exploit the
situation and seize control of our country.

"We must remain committed to the evolution of a
democratic Pakistan and reject the calls for confrontation
between institutions," he wrote against the backdrop of
continuing tensions between the civilian government and the
powerful military over the alleged memo that had sought US
help to stave off a feared coup in Pakistan in May.

The PPP wanted both a "strong military" and an
"independent judiciary", Bilawal said.

"We have always supported an independent judiciary and
would never let the abuses of individual judges in the past
sabotage our mission of establishing a free, impartial and
independent judiciary," Bilawal wrote.

"This is why we knew in 2007 that we had to distinguish
between (former military ruler Pervez) Musharraf and the army
as an institution. A strong military is needed in order to
protect our territorial borders and defeat the internal cancer
of Islamist extremism," he added.

Bilawal said the politicisation of the military under
dictatorship "engages it in arenas where it has no place and,
as a result, weakens its ability to perform its primary
function".

The PPP would continue to back "reconciliation and not
violent revolution". The transition to democracy has borne
fruit and the elected government "gave ownership to the fight
against extremists and made it Pakistan`s war", he said.

"It is only under a democratic government that Pakistan
finally stood up to demand respect from the US and to do what
the dictator with all his military might could not evacuate
the Shamsi airbase," Bilawal wrote in a reference to actions
taken by Pakistan after a cross-border NATO air strike killed
24 Pakistani soldiers last month.

Pakistan has "onerous challenges" before it and the "push
for economic and energy reform must go forward, as must our
promise to build a Pakistan where education is the path to
empowerment", he added.

Paying tribute to his mother, Bilawal said he was "most
focused on what she might have accomplished had she lived".

He lauded her role in promoting education, women’s rights
and healthcare, and promotion of technology and the media.

"It was an amazing record of accomplishment, made even
more remarkable by the constraint of aborted tenures, by
constant pressure from a hostile establishment and presidents
with the power to sack elected governments," he wrote.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 13:08

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