Former President and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has urged the nation to unite against religious extremism, militancy and sectarianism.
He labeled July 5 as “a day of shame and horror” for the country.
“July 5 is a day of shame and horror in the history of the country as it was on this day 40 years ago when the nation was hijacked by Bonaparte,” he said in his message for the ‘Black Day’ – as July 5 is being observed by the PPP – to mourn the day the party’s founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government was ousted through a military coup by Gen Ziaul Haq in 1977.
Zardari lamented the military takeover of the country. “It was on this day that the military dictator began decimating state institutions, privatizing jihad and enacting black laws against women and non-Muslims in the name of religion.” “It was on this day that the nation began its collective descent into anarchy and mayhem- a descent that still continues in the name of religion,” he said in the message shared by the PPP’s media cell.
Calling for a reversal of Gen Ziaul Haq’s policies of “privatization of jihad and exploitation of religion for political ends”, he said, “Let us on this day vow to reverse these policies, fight the mindset of religious extremism and end the privatization of jihad and sectarianism that the dictator’s polices spawned.”
“On this day we reiterate our resolve that Pakistan will have to be a democratic, pluralistic and a moderate country in which there is no place for religious extremism, militancy and sectarianism,” he added.
Zardari also paid homage to the martyrs of democracy. “On this day my thoughts also go to those martyrs of democracy who suffered and sacrificed during that black period of our national history.”
“Our thoughts also go to those who have laid down their lives and suffered otherwise in fighting the extremist mindset and militant ideology,” he added.
Senior vice president PPP Hamid Nawaz Awan said on Tuesday that under the directives of Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PPP Sargodha district wing will hoist black flags and observe black day at Peoples secretariat.