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.

PTI




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