KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saluted the slain victims of the October 2007 Karsaz blasts at a ceremony on Sunday as the party’s co-chairperson, Asif Ali Zardari, vowed not to allow anyone to undermine parliament.
In a statement issued on the eighth anniversary of the tragic bombing which had left more than 150 PPP workers dead, the PPP co-chairperson and former president paid glowing tributes to those who lost their
lives when welcoming the party’s former chairperson Benazir Bhutto upon her return from an eight-year self-exile.
Zardari said an important lesson of the democratic struggle was that dictatorship reared its ‘ugly head’ in different forms and in different manifestations at different times.
“A subtle and little noticed form of threat to democracy is when institutions and individuals exceed their constitutional authority and trespass into the domain of other constitutional institutions,” he said, adding that one must be vigilant against the dictatorial mindset that seeks to drive from the rear seat.
“This tendency must be exposed and fought [against],” he said. The party, according to him, “pledges to continue Benazir’s mission to banish extremism and root out dictatorship in all its forms and manifestations.”
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The former president said parliament is a shield against dictatorship. “It must be strengthened, not undermined. The PPP will not allow anyone to undermine parliament. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it,” he said.
Zardari recalled that eight years ago the battle lines were clearly drawn between forces of democracy and the militants and extremists. “Since then, the battle lines have sharpened. The battle must continue till it is won,” he said.
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PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto and his sisters – Bakhtawar and Aseefa – along with party workers gathered at the Karsaz monument in Karachi to pay homage to the slain PPP workers. Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah also attended the event.
Sindh Information Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said an FIR for the incident could not be lodged during the tenure of former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf despite court orders.
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In her message on micro-blogging site Twitter, Aseefa Bhutto said: “Today we pay tribute to the martyrs who risked their lives to save our leader. We’ll never forget you.”
Her sister Bakhtawar also used social media to pay tribute to the Karsaz blast victims. “We pay tribute to our martyrs. To those who defined bravery. To those who ran towards the flames to protect my mother. To those whose sacrifice ensured her survival. May they never be forgotten.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.