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Zardari decides not to attend ZAB's death anniversary events

KARACHI: Asif Ali Zardari and provincial minister Sharjeel Inaam Memon along with PPP leader Qadir Patel are not attending the 37th death anniversary of PPP founder and former PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) in Garhi Khuda Bux due to the fear of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and arrests over ongoing enquires.

The death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is being observed today (Monday). PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari along with central and provincial party leaders will attend a public gathering in Garhi Khuda Bux and Naudero on the occasion. Following the arrests of former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Morai and other leaders over investigations by agencies and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) actions in Sindh, the senior leadership of PPP has "advised" Zardari against returning to Pakistan.

NAB is investigating Memon regarding the award of government advertisements worth Rs 5 billion, out of which Rs 3 billion were allegedly misappropriated. Memom had said in a statement that there are no proofs against him and false corruption cases are being lodged against him and his name has been on the Exit Control List (ECL) with mala-fide intention. Whereas, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has alleged that NAB is pursuing a political agenda to victimise Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leaders and conducting a media trial of Sharjeel Memon and other party leaders.

Separately, in a message on ZAB's death anniversary, Zardari said Bhutto instilled in the people the knowledge that they alone were the fountain of all political power and it is this realisation that has not permitted dictatorship to take roots in the country. "In these troubled times when the locus of power is shifting away from the people towards un-elected elements the example of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is even more relevant today than ever before," Zardari said.

"On the eve of 37th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, I ask the democracy-loving people to rededicate themselves to the ideal that all power must flow from the ballot box and not from the bullet". He said: "Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto awakened the people and gave them the strength of hope and the hope of strength. He illumined the path traversed by the generations that followed him. No one can rob him of his great achievements". Zardari said Bhutto stands tall as a beacon of light, hope and inspiration for the people."

He said the PPP founder gave the nation the gifts of a unanimous democratic constitution and a strengthened national defence. "This twin legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto must be protected at all cost. On this day as we rededicate themselves to the ideals of democracy we also pay homage to all those who laid down their lives and endured exile, torture and imprisonment in the cause of democracy," he said.

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