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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

World

Democracy will survive despite conspiracy: Zardari
PTI
Karachi, April 04, 2013
First Published: 11:59 IST(4/4/2013)
Last Updated: 12:06 IST(4/4/2013)

In a surprise move, the top leaders of Pakistan People's Party held a closed door meeting at the party's headquarters in Sindh province after midnight in the wake of Taliban threat to its leadership.

The PPP, which governed Pakistan for the last five years, had earlier cancelled a public rally at Naudero, Gardhi Khuda Baksh, where it was supposed to start its elections campaign on the death anniversary of its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

But late last night President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto, the chairman of the PPP, addressed the gathering which started with a two minutes silence observed for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was hanged 34 years ago by military dictator Zia-ul Haq after being toppled by the army.

Only the state-owned PTV was allowed to cover the meeting live.

The top PPP leadership was present at the meeting where Zardari said his party had strengthened democracy in Pakistan.

"Despite many problems, hurdles and criticism we have kept democracy alive and for the first time a peaceful civilian transfer of power will take place after elections," President Zardari said, adding that in coming days democracy would be further strengthened in the country.

"I am proud to say there was not a single political prisoner in the jails in our tenure," he said.

Zardari while admitting that there were some mistakes made by the PPP-led coalition government in the last five years said still the party had taken steps that would benefit the future generations of Pakistan.

Bilawal, who returned home from Dubai a day earlier after speculations in the media about him leaving Karachi after a tiff with his father over party matters, also addressed the gathering describing his grandfather as a visionary leader.

He said the party's manifesto in the coming elections remained the slogan raised by ZA Bhutto, "Roti, Kapra aur Makan" (food, clothes and house).

Bilawal urged people to vote for the PPP candidates to keep alive the spirit of the Bhutto family.

The closed door meeting apparently was the result of threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan which has threatened to hit the PPP and its coalition partners in the run-up to the May 11 polls.

Senior party officials have said that in the wake of security threats it was decided to hold smaller meetings and rallies in different districts.


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