Zardari asks all political forces to work for democracy



Lahore: Asserting that Pakistan's next general election would be held on time in a transparent manner, President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called on all political parties to work for strengthening democracy.

Zardari made the remarks while addressing an "Eid Milan" gathering at Malakwal city of Mandi Bahauddin district in Punjab province.

Though the event was projected by the ruling Pakistan People's Party as an occasion for Zardari to greet people in connection with the recent Eid-ul-Azha festival, observers said it was an effort to reach out to voters ahead of the polls scheduled for next year.

Speaking in a mix of Urdu and Punjabi, Zardari assured all political parties that the next general election would be held in a transparent way.

All necessary measures had been put in place for this, including the preparation of genuine voters' lists to hold elections in a free and fair manner, he said.

Zardari acknowledged that democracy in Pakistan still had some shortcomings and stressed the need to rectify these problems through collective political vision.

He called on political forces across the country to sit with the government and give their inputs on policies.

Democracy is the only way to take the country towards progress and prosperity, he said.

Though Zardari did not outline any schedule for the polls, PPP leaders have hinted that the election could be held in late March or early April.

The PPP and the main opposition PML-N are holding informal discussions on the formation of a caretaker administration to oversee the election.

The current PPP government completes its five year term next year.

PTI