* President says PPP govt has right to complete term
* Handful of political actors, not political parties, establishment trying to derail system
* Calls on opponents to wait their turn

President Asif Ali Zardari vowed on Wednesday to foil all conspiracies against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and rebuked attempts to blackmail him and other leaders by “pranksters who were masquerading as political actors”.

“We are not afraid of conspiracies and if there are any, we will fight,” said Zardari, who is also the PPP co-chairman, in an address to party workers and leaders on PPP’s foundation day.

In a live telecast address from the Presidency, Zardari said “political jokers” wanted to destabilise the government. “These pranksters should not [be allowed to] waste the time of the masses ... it is the constitutional right of the democratically elected government to complete its five-year term,” said Zardari. An opposition from the legitimate opposition is welcome, but we turn down an opposition of political pranksters,” he said, and warned that conspiracies against Pakistan and the PPP would not be tolerated.

Wait for turn: Zardari also called on parties and individuals who boycotted the last general elections to wait for their turn instead of resorting to “undemocratic, immature and unconstitutional ways”. “Political parties or the establishment do not want [to derail the system] ... it is only a handful of political actors. They should wait for their turn till the next elections,” the APP news agency quoted him as saying. The president also vowed to continue the war on terror, and said terrorism was a “murderous cancer for the country”.

The PPP hosted the gathering to renew party pledges at the same place where Benazir Bhutto was scheduled to address her homecoming rally.

Reacting to criticism against him for highlighting his Sindhi origin and wearing a Sindhi cap during his Afghanistan visit, Zardari said, “The pranksters masquerading as political actors don’t know that Sindhu (Indus) is today’s Pakistan,” he said.

He said Sindh had laid the foundation of Pakistan and saved the country, and the PPP remains committed to this political belief.

He criticised a private news channel for “anti-democracy propaganda and demonisation of the government and the Presidency”. He said “conspirators” were unhappy because the PPP government had given rights to the people of the Tribal Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan and tabled a Balochistan package.

Zardari said he considered the opposition a great asset for democracy, adding that the PPP wanted to see the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other parties thrive and strengthen democracy in the country. He called on the party’s opponents to let the masses decide the PPP’s fate in the next elections.

Daily Times