Islamabad, Sept 4 : PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that he decided to run in the presidential poll because besides cementing the democracy in his country trod over for decades by successive dictators, he wanted to work towards defeating the Taliban insurgency and to ensure that Pakistani territory was not used to launch terrorist attacks on Pakistan's neighbors or on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
He said that his family had paid the ultimate price for its commitment to democracy, and that the September 6 presidential poll will seal the victory of democracy over dictatorship and, at long last, allow Pakistan to defeat the terrorist threat and address the people's needs.
He said that Pakistan was fighting the war on terror because it was its own war and that he wanted to save his country from the menace of terrorism.
"It is important to remember that Pakistan, too, is a victim of terrorism. Our soldiers are dying on the front lines; our children are being blown up by suicide bombers. We stand with the United States, Britain, Spain and others who have been attacked. Fundamentally, however, the war we our fighting is our war. This battle is for Pakistan's soul. My wife's inflexible stance on defeating terrorists cost her life. My party and I are struggling to save our nation," he wrote in article in the Washington Post.
He wrote: "Pakistan is at a crossroads. The gravity of the situation has led me, at the insistence of my Pakistan People's Party (PPP), to run for president in Saturday's elections. My children and I are still mourning our beloved leader, wife and mother, Benazir Bhutto. We did not make the decision for me to run lightly. But, we know what is at stake. Chief among the challenges that all Pakistanis face is the threat of global terrorism, demonstrated again in this week's assassination attempt against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani."
He claimed that the PPP was the only party with support in all four provinces as well as in Kashmir and the federally administered tribal areas. The PPP's success in democratizing the presidency will strengthen Pakistan's viability as a nation, added Zardari in his article.
He added: "If I am elected president, one of my highest priorities will be to support the prime minister, the National Assembly and the Senate to amend the constitution to bring back into balance the powers of the presidency and thereby reduce its ability to bring down democratic governance. It is essential that our nation's independent judiciary be reconstituted. Judges who were dismissed arbitrarily by Musharraf in November are being restored to the bench by the government my party leads, and I believe Parliament must enact a system of judicial reform to ensure that future judges are selected based on merit."