KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Salmaan Taseer has written a new chapter in the history of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) continuing struggle for human rights, democracy and non-discrimination.
The president called his widow Aamna on the eve of his soyem. Zardari said that Taseer was an undaunted political leader and a true follower of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. “He called a spade a spade and did not mince words in expressing what he believed was true and right,” Zardari said about Taseer.
He said that Taseer’s courage and determination in espousing the causes of the marginalised sections of society and his readiness to pay the highest price for it will continue to inspire many. Taseer, he said, was an asset to the party and had done it proud.
“Few possess the courage to stand up to bigots and fanatics, and fewer still the readiness to embrace martyrdom for it,” he said.
Zardari said that Taseer was killed to increase the polarisation in the society to derail the democratic process under the pretext of religion. He said he was hopeful that those responsible for the crime will be exposed and punished in accordance with the law. “The supreme sacrifice rendered by him will not go in vain,” the president said.
Aamna Taseer thanked the president for calling to share their grief and said that his words were a source of great strength for the family in this tragic time.
Meanwhile, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed his solidarity with party workers in a statement on Thursday. “I join the workers of PPP in mourning the tragic assassination of [former] Punjab governor,” he said.
Bilawal said that Taseer has “joined my beloved mother and my grandfather and hundreds of other PPP martyrs, as those willing to lay down their lives for their beliefs”.
He said that the party’s struggle to uphold the values of Islam, democracy and social democracy will continue. “In fact, we are strengthened by the sacrifices of our martyrs. An egalitarian, tolerant, inclusive and just order that serves all the people of Pakistan remains our goal,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2011.