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Neutral setup to ensure free, fair polls: President Zardari

Garhi Khuda Baksh: President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday said Pakistan People’s Party will install a transparent caretaker setup, in consultation with all political parties and the opposition, to ensure holding of free and fair polls.
Addressing a huge gathering to mark the fifth martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed the President said the government has done the necessary legislation for putting in place a caretaker setup.”The setup will be put in place in consultation with the opposition and other political parties so that the general elections are held in a free, fair and impartial manner”, he added.

He said the sole objective of setting up an independent election commissioner was to ensure that no hidden agenda could be achieved.
Attired in a black shalwar-kameez and a Sindhi cap, the President said his government was all set to complete its five year term and will be holding the polls.”We have taken all measures to ensure holding of free, fair and transparent election,” the President said and added that no one should have any doubt in this regard.He said “we have served long 12 year jail-terms and are not afraid of any thing.””If needed, we will fight back, as we have fought for this freedom and will not let anyone to usurp it at any cost,” the President vowed.He said the Egyptian model of governance cannot be pursued in Pakistan. “If someone thinks that it can be followed, than he is wrong, as it will not work here”, he noted.

He, however, urged all the proponents of the idea to come forward and be a part of the electoral process. He said politics was not a day-long affair and it took decades to make a strong country and nation. He said the party was here to stay for a long time to come and continue to serve the masses.He said certain internal and external forces did not wish democracy to succeed, but expressed his firm resolve that just like the government has completed five years of democracy, it will continue to flourish and gain more strength in the days ahead.”With the support of the people we will fight all forces that are against democracy,” the President said.

He expressed the hope that the media that was given independence will also play its due role and ensure that the freedom acquired was not taken back at any cost.

The President termed Hamid Raza Kazmi the only political prisoner in the country, and pointed that it was despite the fact that he was part of the ruling party. He also lauded former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for sacrificing his post and did not
abandon the party like the “uncles”, who had left Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, in the past.”We believe in doing politics, but have neither done any injustice to anyone nor will let anyone do injustice to us,” the President said.He said the Pakistan Peoples Party averted the Arab Spring sort of thing after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, only by pursuing the slogan of “Pakistan Khapaey”.”We have never compromised politics for any gains and never pleaded anyone to let us go abroad on a plane”, he remarked.

The President said it was a day of sorrow and joy for him as his son, worker of the Pakistan Peoples Party was amongst his extended party.
He said it was a day of sadness and joy for him as, the young Bilawal, who has completed his education, was now joining you to learn to live with you and serve you as his parents and elders did, for decades.He said the PPP always took all political parties along and has never shied from it. He attributed it to late Nusrat Bhutto who, initiated the policy of reconciliation and vowed to fight the dictator General Zia Ul Haq.

The President said the government has set new standards of accommodation and tolerance and said those who follow will now have to come up to the mark to stand up to these benchmarks.President Zardari reiterated that the PPP has vowed to save democracy and all political forces in the country have expressed their resolve to stand by it on this issue.

Earlier, the gathering observed a two-minute silence to pay respects to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi in 2007.The custodian of the Holy Qaaba offered fateha and prayers for the departed soul.

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