SUKKUR / KHAIRPUR: Burying speculations doing the rounds in political circles about a possible delay in general elections, President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Sunday that the polls would be held on time and assured the nation that these would be fair, free and impartial.
Addressing a meeting of PPP workers at the residence of Manzoor Ahmed Wasan in D.G. Kot area, the president said: “I want to make a promise with the people that the next elections will be held on time and will be fair, free and impartial.”
He said the PPP believed in democracy and had never used the backdoor to come to power and in future also it would depend on the strength of the masses and come to power with their mandate.
Mr Zardari, who especially travelled to this remote part of Sindh to meet party workers, said the PPP never believed in rigging elections and added that efforts would be made to ensure fair and free elections.
He said the PPP had a strong and everlasting link with people who always supported it in elections, adding that this strong bond would remain intact and with their support the PPP would again win majority.
Rejecting allegations being levelled against the government, the president said there had been conspiracies against the PPP government but it had faced them with courage and support of the masses.
The government was being targeted through what he called `TV politics’ because there were elements who criticised the government in TV talk shows without any justification.
However, he said: “We are satisfied with our performance and confident of getting people’s support.”
He said that despite an international economic crisis and effects of a meltdown, the economy of Pakistan had progressed during the tenure of the PPP government.
“The country is now self-sufficient in food and exporting wheat, although it was importing wheat when the PPP came to power four and a half years ago,” he said.
The president said he was aware of people’s problems like shortage of water, electricity and jobs, but the government had taken a number of steps which would help solve these problems in the near future.
Referring to the Benazir Income Support Programme, he said the BISP’s objectives were to help the needy and empower women so that they could lead a honourable life. He said that with the BISP’s support, poor women were playing an important role in supporting their families.
He said the government had provided jobs in the public sector but due to limited resources the problem of unemployment could not be solved. Therefore, it had decided to increase industrialisation to create more jobs.
Referring to the sacrifices rendered by the PPP, Mr Zardari said the party leadership had sacrificed their lives for the progress and prosperity of people. He said he had to face imprisonment for 11 years and despite having chances to get out after making compromises he preferred to remain in jail.
President Zardari said Benazir Bhutto was asked by many world leaders not to return to Pakistan but she preferred to come to the country to support the rights of people and laid down her life.
He said that before leaving for Pakistan Benazir Bhutto had told him “people of Pakistan are waiting for me” and she had decided to come to Pakistan.
Commenting on the political situation in Punjab, the president said that with the support of the masses the next chief minister of the province would be from the Pakistan People’s Party.
He said the PPP had made sincere efforts to stabilise the democratic system after the previous elections. The president announced that he would visit different cities of Punjab for a better interaction with party workers there, to listen to their problems and to enhance coordination with them.
Mr Zardari said that being the president of the country he had to focus on regional and international issues because Pakistan was an important country and playing a vital role in regional and international affairs.
The president had a frank and candid discussion with party workers. He mingled with them and exchanged views with them on various issues.