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Zardari asks people to reject attempts at making Pakistan ‘theocratic state’

Asif-ZardariISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has urged people to reject attempts by some elements to turn Pakistan into a “theocratic state” as the party continues its verbal attacks on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar for his outburst against the PPP leadership.

Felicitating the nation on the country’s 70th Independence Day, Mr Zardari, in a message released by the PPP’s media office here on Saturday, asked people to bear in mind the twin ideals of democracy and people’s welfare for which Pakistan was created.

“Let us on this day reiterate our rejection of attempts by some to turn Pakistan into a theocratic state. Let us proclaim loudly and clearly that Pakistan was never meant to be nor will be allowed to degenerate into a theocratic state,” he said.

Mr Zardari has remained out of the country since June 2015 for unexplained reasons.

PPP continues verbal attacks on Chaudhry Nisar

Amid celebrations today, he said, people should not be unmindful of the threats to the basic values on which “our nationhood was founded”.

Welfare of people must always be uppermost in our minds, Mr Zardari said, adding that the security of the country would be enhanced, not undermined, if the state focused on welfare of people.

“On this occasion, we pay homage to countless people who sacrificed their lives and endured hardships to make the dream of Pakistan come true. Our thoughts also go out to those whose lives have been devastated by militancy and extremism and in the recent senseless carnage in Quetta,” he said.

“We remember with respect and admiration those people who have suffered for the cause of democracy and the rule of law. We cherish the memory of those people who have laid down their lives in defending Pakistan from the scourge of extremism, militancy and religious bigotry. They all are our national heroes,” the PPP chief said.

He urged people to reiterate commitment to make Pakistan a truly modern, democratic, progressive and liberal country in the sense that freedom and equal opportunity were its defining characteristics.

Meanwhile, different leaders of the PPP criticised the interior minister for his remarks against the party leadership during a news conference on Friday.

Former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi said in a statement that the PPP leadership had always opposed and resisted terrorists and extremists and that was why Chaudhry Nisar detested the PPP leadership.

He alleged that due to ‘criminal negligence’ of the minister, the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism had not been implemented and said that the nation would never forgive him for that.

“Our valiant soldiers were killed in Waziristan and terrorists pulled down the Pakistani flag in Swat but Chaudhry Nisar continued to regard terrorists as his own.

“He cried over the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud who was involved in killing the general officer commanding of Dir. It is not expected of a dubious character like Chaudhry Nisar to implement NAP,” the PPP leader said.

The minister had become an enemy of the PPP because the party had a strong stance against terrorism, Mr Kundi said.

“He should not think that he can hoodwink people by his made-up stories. He will have to answer questions about non-implementation of NAP.”

Nargis Faiz Malik, a former PPP member of the Punjab Assembly, in her separate statement “condemned” the minister for using foul language against the PPP leadership.

She alleged that during the Musharraf regime, Chaudhry Nisar avoided appearing in protest rallies on the pretext of illness. She alleged that he was not capable of running the interior ministry. -DN


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