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Updated: January 2, 2010 15:50 IST

Zardari says ‘certain elements’ want to remove him

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Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. File photo
Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. File photo

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has claimed that “certain elements” and undemocratic forces want to remove him because of his support for the rights of the people of Balochistan province.

“The (government’s Balochistan development) package is the right of the people of Balochistan and we have to implement it,” he said.

But, Mr. Zardari said, “certain elements” do not want this to happen. “Therefore, they want to remove me.”

The President vowed to save Pakistan by defeating such elements and undemocratic forces. “If we save Pakistan, it will amount to saving the rights of poor people,” he said in his address to a gathering at the ground-breaking ceremony of Winder Dam in Balochistan on Friday.

He said that even before becoming the head of state, he had offered an apology to the people of Balochistan for injustices suffered by them in the past because he considered it his duty.

“I am a President with a political thinking,” he said.

Mr. Zardari highlighted the importance of the people’s support in national affairs, saying even armies could not save countries without the support of people.

He said the PPP-led government will launch thousands of development projects, including dams and oil and gas wells.

“We have to build thousands of dams. However, these dams will be owned by the local people,” he added.

The government will utilise all its resources for welfare of the poor who had voted it to power.

Highlighting the government’s achievements on economic and other fronts, Mr. Zardari said these had been achieved despite a global recession and the war against terrorism.

In an interview with a TV news channel, Mr. Zardari rejected any likelihood of a clash among Pakistan’s institutions. He said those who were speaking about such a clash were wrong in their thinking.

“I will deny this. We have taken the hits on our chests but did not let the institutions become weak. Those who think that any clash among the institutions was going to happen are wrong in their thinking,” he said.

Referring to his address on December 27 on the death anniversary of his slain wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, during which he had spoken about “non-state actors” that wanted to break up Pakistan, Mr. Zardari said he had not criticised any institution.

He said he had referred to historical facts and asked people to learn lessons from history.

“I referred to history. I referred to countries like Afghanistan. I did not criticise or talk about any institution. But I talked about learning from history,” he said.

Asked about the outcome of any step to remove the President by unconstitutional means, Mr. Zardari said: “It (such an action) will weaken democracy and strengthen anti-Pakistan elements... I don’t think any such thing is going to happen.”

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