Zardari proposes ‘truth and reconciliation commission’
ISLAMABAD (February 29 2008): The PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has proposed setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to recognise victims of state repression and injustices. He said that the establishment had been weakened and it was incumbent upon all political forces to join hands to strengthen democratic institutions so that dictatorship was never able to rear its head again.
Addressing a meeting of the losing candidates of National and Provincial Assemblies from Frontier and Balochistan on Thursday, he said that in ending the supremacy of the establishment all PPP workers whether those who won or lost elections, had a crucial role to play.
The meeting took stock of the political situation in the province and analysed how and where the elections were stolen and how to stop election manipulation by the establishment in future.
Zardari said that the credit goes to party workers that despite rigging in selective constituencies the party had emerged not only as the largest party in the centre but also had its candidates elected in all the provinces of the country. You all have worked for the common cause and those who have lost or been made to lose should continue to work for the achievement of the objectives from outside the Parliament while those who have won will work for it from inside the Parliament, he said.
He said that the PPP wants to change the system by removing the anomalies introduced in the Constitution that had made the elected Parliament subservient to the establishment adding, “the power must be restored to the people to whom it belongs”.
About the judiciary he said that a weak judiciary had always been manipulated by the dictatorship and it was in the interest of the people and democracy that judiciary was strengthened.
He said that the PPP would co-opt the support of other political forces to strengthen judiciary. In this connection he said the Party had already submitted a constitutional amendment bill in the Senate to make changes in the mode of appointments of judges and giving it financial and administrative independence that would make the judges independent of the pressures of the executive. He said that the apology tendered to the people of Balochistan was aimed at recognising victims of state repression.
He said that the PPP had proofs of how victory was snatched from its winning candidates not only in Frontier and Balochistan but also in Sindh and Punjab and asked the participants to vigorously challenge the manipulative practices at all available forums.
“For this purpose the Party had set up its Election Monitoring Cells in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar to pursue the rigging cases with the Election Commission and other relevant bodies”. If the elections had not been selectively rigged the party would have fared much better in the polls, he said.
Paying tributes to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto he said that it was due to her leadership that despite conspiracies by invisible hands the Pakistan People’s Party had once again established its credentials as a truly federal Party that had vote bank throughout the length and breadth of the country. He said that the party, after the formation of the government, would urge the UN to probe Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to expose the perpetrators, financiers and plotters of the crime.
Source: Business Recorder