PPP says it has complete confidence in Zardari`s leadership
Last Updated: Sunday, December 20, 2009, 00:03
Islamabad: The ruling Pakistan People's Party on Saturday threw its weight behind beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari, saying it had "complete confidence" in his leadership despite a Supreme Court verdict that scrapped an amnesty on corruption charges against him.

The central executive committee of the PPP passed a resolution expressing complete confidence in the leadership of Zardari, who is the party's co-chairman.

Ministers facing graft charges will "defend themselves in and will not resign on the basis of mere allegations" , the party leadership decided.

The PPP also decided to defend party leaders facing graft charges following the scrapping of the National Reconciliation Ordinance by the apex court on Wednesday.

The decisions were made during a marathon meeting of the PPP's top leadership that was chaired by Zardari at the presidency.

The meet, which began in the afternoon, continued till late in the evening.

Senior PPP leader Jahangir Badr, a close aide of Zardari who had benefited from the NRO, announced the party’s decisions at a news conference.

"The PPP is united on co-chairman Zardari's leadership and reposes complete confidence in him," he said.

Badr said: "We respect the (apex) court's verdict but the cases (that are being reopened) were filed as part of political revenge during (former military ruler Pervez) Musharraf's regime because the PPP did not accept him. We faced these cases in the past and will face them again."

The PPP, he said, will not disappoint people while continuing its struggle to strengthen the federation, rule of law and the constitution.

It will also "not hesitate to make any sacrifice" for the happiness of the people, he added.

The PPP respects all state institutions but expects them to work for Pakistan's future with "collective wisdom while remaining within limits", he said.

Responding to questions on demands from the opposition for Zardari to resign and the possible removal of the PPP-led federal government, Badr said: "The geo-political situation in Pakistan makes it very clear that anything other than democracy will lead to anarchy and chaos."

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and senior party leaders like Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, and Safdar Abbasi attended the meeting.

Ahsan, who is one of Pakistan's leading lawyers, briefed the PPP leaders on the fallout of the apex court’s verdict.

Zardari and the PPP-led government are facing their worst political crisis since coming to power last year due to the Supreme Court's annulment of the NRO, which scrapped graft cases against over 8,000 people.

The President and several close allies, including Defence Minister Mukhtar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, benefited from the NRO.

The apex court's ruling came at a time when Zardari's popularity ratings have hit rock bottom.

An anti-corruption court in Karachi has summoned Malik to appear before it next month while the Defence Minister was barred from on an official visit to China due to the reopening of a corruption probe against him.

Zardari's aides have said the constitution grants him immunity from prosecution by virtue of holding the post of President.


First Published: Sunday, December 20, 2009, 00:03

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