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Defiant Zardari warns of conspiracy

world Updated: Dec 28, 2011 02:35 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari used the fourth anniversary of the death of his wife Benazir Bhutto to ensure supporters he would not resign in the face of numerous crises building around him.

In a jab at the Supreme Court, which is considering an investigation into a memo asking the United States for help against the country's powerful military and which could implicate Zardari, he asked about the as yet unsolved case of his wife's assassination. "People ask what happened to Benazir Bhutto's case," he said. "I ask (Chief Justice) Iftikhar Chaudhry: what happened to Benazir Bhutto's case?"

No one has yet been charged with her assassination at a huge rally outside Islamabad on December 27, 2007. He said her death was a conspiracy against Pakistani democracy.

Zardari said that his government was in power "to make history and not headlines." He said that while he would tolerate actions that are carried out within the constitution, he would not spare anyone who initiated any unconstitutional measures. He attacked the judiciary and said that he wished the courts were under his control.

Police estimated Tuesday's crowd at Garhi Khuda Baksh to be more than 70,000. Six thousand policemen were positioned around the area, alongside Rangers and other security personnel to secure the venue.

Colourful banners sprouted from the throng, which spread out beneath the white, marble mausoleum that contains the bodies of Pakistan's most famous political family. Speaking from behind bulletproof glass, Zardari appeared relaxed and healthy, likely calm rumours of his ill health.

The rally was also addressed by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other senior party leaders.

(With agencies input)