PPP President Zardari says calls for holding dictators accountable demonstrate democratic ethos of people

Islamabad: July 5 is a black day in our national calendar as it was on this day when a dictator usurped political power through brute force, exploited religion destroyed the Constitution and state institutions and pushed the country to the abyss of social and political destruction.

This was stated by President Asif Ali Zardari in a message Thursday that denounced the abrogation of the Constitution and take over by dictatorship 36 years ago and called upon the people to strive for protection and preservation of democracy.

The aftermath of July 5, 1977 starkly remind us how one dictator spawned extremists for his political survival and how another dictatorship exploited the same extremists for promoting his political agenda. Indeed the nation is still reeling under the impact of the dictatorial take over on this dark day, he said.

Sectarianism, religious extremism and private jehad were deliberately promoted by the usurper to create an artificial constituency for perpetuating his rule as a reign of terror was let loose, he said. Such is the legacy of the dictatorship that has unfortunately struck this land repeatedly.“We need to clearly understand this mechanics of dictatorship in the country in order to be better able to contain forces of militancy and terrorism”.

However, the democratic ethos of our people cannot be suppressed through brute force. It is a measure of the democratic ethos of our people that the democratic Constitution has largely been restored and a historic democratic transition taken place recently in Pakistan.

It is also a manifestation of the democratic yearning of our people that there are strident calls for holding accountable those who abrogated or suspended the Constitution and their collaborators in this sordid agenda, he said. In the fullness of time the wheels of justice grind exceeding small. Indeed with the naming and shaming in public of those who abrogated the Constitution and their collaborators the grinding has already begun.

History bears witness that while tin pot dictators may strut along the stage pretending to be the saviours they are eventually punished by the people and history with a vengeance.

The President also paid homage to the martyrs of democracy. “On this day my thoughts also go to those martyrs of democracy who suffered and sacrificed during that black period of our national history. They suffered so that the future generations may live in peace and honour”.

“The democracy loving people salute the Quaid e Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Madari Jamhooriat Begum Nusrat Bhutto and the icon of democracy Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and all those who gave their lives during the period of tyranny and who kept alive the flame of democracy despite use of state force of repression to extinguish it.

“On the anniversary of this dark day let us determine to strive for the preservation and promotion of democracy and the rule of law so that our people continue to march onto the road of progress and prosperity with hope and opportunity for everyone”.