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PPP co-chairman felicitates Begum Nusrat Bhutto on her 81st birthday

Islamabad March 22, 2010: Co-Chairman of Pakistan People Party President Asif Ail Zardari has said that Begum Nusrat Bhutto was great woman and a national asset not only because she is the woman behind two great leaders of our country–Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto– but also in her own right for having fought a heroic struggle for the restoration of democracy in the country.

He said this in a message on the occasion of the 81st birthday of Begum Nusrat Bhutto falling on March 23, 2010 and coinciding with the Pakistan Day celebrations.

Begum Sahiba is a living example of a life standing tall despite unspeakable tragedies inflicted upon her by successive dictatorships bent upon destroying the social, political and constitutional fabric of the country to perpetuate themselves in power. In the struggle for democracy she witnessed and endured the execution of her illustrious husband through judicial abuse, the tragic assassination of her two sons in the prime of their lives and of her daughter, the Muslim World’s first elected Prime Minister.

When democracy was subverted and Shaheed Bhutto incarcerated she led upfront the Party and the people against tyranny and dictatorship with admirable courage and conviction. She also was brutalized by forces of dictatorship, the scars of which she still wears on her mind and body.

The head injury that she received during one of the protest demonstrations at the hands of the minions of dictatorship eventually resulted in the loss of her memory.

On her 81st birthday there is some consolation for her as the nation and the Parliament are poised to rid the Constitution of dictatorial vestiges against which she fought and endured all her life. It is an irony of fate that as her struggle seems to bear fruit, she cannot comprehend its meaning nor bask in the glory of triumph and achievement.

A woman of great compassion, elegance, grace and courage she will continue to inspire generations of Party workers and democrats and lift them to higher goals in life.

At the time of Independence she soothed the scars of many by actively participating in  relief measures for refugees pouring into the new found country bereft of resources.

She was the woman behind the leader who gave this country the unanimous Constitution, held the OIC Summit, gave nuclear program and brought back prisoners of war and retrieved lost territory through the Simla Accord. She actively participated in the efforts for empowering women and under privileged. She will always be remembered by the Party for keeping the Party flag high at a time of its greatest challenge and adversity. When the time came she was undeterred and stood tall and erect against pygmies and dictators bent upon stifling the voice of the people.

It is hard to find a comparable example in contemporary history of a brave and strong woman who endured so much of personal ordeal in a life long struggle for democracy and rights of the people.

Seldom before perhaps has one individual suffered so much and paid such a heavy personal price for the salvation of so many. We owe a debt of gratitude to her.

On this occasion I urge the Party workers to remember her in prayers.

I also urge them to rededicate themselves to the principles for which the Begum Sahiba struggled all her life and suffered so much for the cause.