Zardari takes on detractors on Zulfiqar's death anniversary



Zardari takes on detractors on Zulfiqar`s death anniversary Islamabad: Embattled President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday used the death anniversary of former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to answer his detractors, saying he was capable of countering any attack launched on his PPP-led government.

Addressing a massive gathering at the Bhutto family's stronghold of Garhi Khuda Bux early this morning, Zardari said he had a response to every attack on the PPP and every allegation against him by his critics.

In an apparent reference to pressure on the government from the Supreme Court to revive graft cases against him in Switzerland, Zardari said: "The decision made by the people is accepted in history, a judge's verdict is not accepted". He contended that the people were with him.

"If I am fighting today, if (Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's lawyer) Aitzaz Ahsan is fighting in the Supreme Court, it is with the backing of the people.

"Pakistan is in the hands of the people, who can never be wrong," he said.

Senior PPP leader Ahsan is defending Gilani in contempt proceedings initiated by the apex court against the premier for failing to reopen cases of alleged money laundering against Zardari in Switzerland.

Gilani has said he would rather be jailed than violate the Constitution by approaching Swiss authorities to reopen the graft cases.

Zardari further contended that Gilani was being "punished" for backing a move to create a new province in southern Punjab.

"They are after Gilani not because he is loyal to me? he talks of the Constitution.

"He wanted to separate south Punjab from the seat of Lahore and that is his crime, and he is being punished for it," he said.

While reiterating the PPP's commitment to the policy of political reconciliation, Zardari called on the opposition to join hands with the government to help Pakistan overcome challenges.

"Today, I again urge the opposition, let us work together to steer the country out of internal and external challenges," he said. He said there were some people who wanted to pitch the PPP against the Baloch, Punjabis or Urdu-speaking Sindhis but the party "will not fight against any community".

He said, "We will fight for the security and safety of the land if there is any threat to its sovereignty and integrity".

In an apparent reference to cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, Zardari said he welcomed new entrants in politics.

"We do not have any objection if the new parties take away our leaders or their leaders come to our party," he added. Zardari said the Supreme Court was expected to "correct its mistakes" but unfortunately it had not taken any action against culprits who killed PPP leaders.

All those responsible for the death of former premier Benazir Bhutto are now hiding, he said.

PTI