Islamabad October 17, 2014: The 18th day of October is an occasion to pay homage to the memories of those brave sons and daughters of the nation who laid down their lives and suffered immeasurably in the cause of democracy and fighting against extremism. It is also an occasion to reiterate the pledge to fulfil the mission of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The jalsa organized by the Party today in Karachi is aimed at reiterating the pledge loudly and clearly
Seven years ago on this day Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan from exile defying all odds and warnings. She decided to return because she sensed that Pakistan was faced with existential threat from the militants on the one hand and dictatorship on the other. She wanted to lead from the front the fight against dictatorship and militancy. Once she made up her mind nothing could stop her. The enemies of democracy and Pakistan and the cowards were waiting. They brutally attacked her caravan resulting in the martyrdom of nearly two hundred Party workers and democrats. But nothing could deter the party workers; indeed nothing will.
Within a year the dictator was sent home packing on August 18, 2008. The democratic journey continued resulting in the restoration, to a large extent, of the 1973 Constitution, grant of unprecedented provincial autonomy, a new NFC Award on the basis of a revised formula and the strengthening of the Parliament as the President voluntarily returned powers to the Parliament.
However, the struggle has not ended. A great threat today is from those who are seeking to assault democracy in the name of democracy itself. The fight against this dictatorial and anarchical mindset must also continue; it will. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it.
The extremists and militants and their political backers who could not stand the power of her call are continuing their attacks on the progressive and democratic forces behind the façade of religion. The battle lines draw on this day Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto have only sharpened. We will continue this battle till final victory inshaAllah.
On this day we salute the courage, devotion and loyalty of martyrs and fans of democracy who laid down their lives or were wounded while protecting Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. They have raised our hopes and steeled our determination. They are the strength of the nation.
While honouring the martyrs today let us also rededicate ourselves to fighting extremism as well as the new forms and manifestations of dictatorship. Parliament is our shield against dictatorship. Let us reiterate our resolve to strengthen the Parliament.
On this day, I call upon all political workers and the nation to remember martyrs of democracy in their prayers. Let us also remember in our prayers the personnel of the armed forces, civil law enforcing agencies and the people who have made untold sacrifices in the fight against extremism.