The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is observing black day today (July 5), the 45th anniversary of military coup against first elected prime minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977.

Black flags will be hoisted on the vehicles of the party leadership and at the central, provincial and sub-district offices of the party.

In his message on the occasion, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the political, economic and social ills Pakistan has been suffering from dated back to the dark days of General Zia.

“General Zia added the poison of linguistic and sectarian thinking in the political and social life of Pakistan and narrowed the ground for democratic and federalist political parties,” said Bilawal.

He said that the stage of judicial assassination was prepared to remove Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from the political arena. Besides, the PPP’s leaders and workers were locked up, flogged publicly and forced into exile.

The PPP chairman said the people of Pakistan fought valiantly against the dictator and his brutal regime and are still struggling against his mindset and remnants.

“I salute all the political leaders and activists in the MRD movement, including Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and jiyala of that era, who worked tirelessly for the restoration of democracy in the country.

He reiterated his commitment that his party would continue to play the role of defender of the constitution, democracy and parliamentary supremacy in the country.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said all the democratic forces of the country must come together and work for the betterment of the people by taking decisions with consensus.

It was very encouraging that the entire nation believed in the 1973 Constitution and this is the fruit of great struggle of the PPP leadership and workers, said Zardari, adding, “Today, we are renewing the pledge to make the country a welfare state by strengthening democracy in accordance with the philosophy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.”

He paid tributes to all the political activists, students, labourers and journalists. “This is the day to pay homage to those who accepted hardships for the restoration of the 1973 Constitution and democracy, who were flogged and endured oppression and violence,” he added.

PPP secretary general Nayyar Bukhari said federal and provincial ministers belonging to PPP would participate in the programmes, which would also be attended by pro-democracy parties and public.

“July 5 is the darkest day in the history of the country,” said Nayyar, adding that the struggle would continue until the elimination of the remnants of dictatorship and establishment of real democracy in the country.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sajid Hussain Turi said on this day in 1977, dictator Zia-ul-Haq sent the democratically elected prime minister to jail and abrogated the constitution.

He said that unprecedented atrocities against Bhutto family and PPP workers had started from that day, which was an unforgettable chapter of the history for PPP workers. Turi termed it unfortunate that the architect of country’s nuclear programme was sent to the gallows.

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