KHAIRPUR  - President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday declared Sindh as fortress of the PPP and vowed to rule Punjab after upcoming general election, which he said will be ‘free and fair’ and held on time.

Addressing party workers at the residence of PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) leader Manzoor Wasaan, in Kot DG area of Khairpur district that he visited after four years, Zardari said their political struggle will continue but this will not hinder the election schedule.

President Zardari claimed that the PPP would succeed in the next general elections with an overwhelming majority in all the four provinces of the country. “Free and fair election in Pakistan is my promise to you and I know PPP will do well this time as well.” The PPP believed in democratic system and never used backdoors to come into power, he added.

“Next time the chief minister of Punjab would be a PPP jiyala,” Zardari vowed while commenting on the political tussle between the PPP and the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz). He said he would personally lead their government in Punjab after the election success.

“Had I wanted I could have refused the Punjab government to Mian Nawaz Sharif even this time,” he scoffed. Affirming that national politics was within his foresight, he announced that “this political war will continue”.

Zardari also jeered at those who, he said, had worked for the ouster of former PM Gilani. But “I have given them a new PPP loyalist”, he boasted. He also boasted of surviving the intense heat and torture of jails he had suffered, quipping that “even the keys of my former jail cell were in my possession”.

Referring to the criticism on the present government, Zardari said, “There have been conspiracies against our government but we have faced them with dedication and the support of the masses.” He said the government was being targeted through ‘TV politics’ and some elements criticise the government without any justification in their talk shows. Their opponents have panicked after seeing PPP’s popularity, he added.

“We are satisfied with our performance and getting the support from the masses.” Despite international economic crisis and effects of economic meltdown, the economy made progress during the tenure of the PPP government, he claimed. “The country is now self-sufficient in food and exporting wheat. Pakistan was importing wheat when the PPP came into power four and half years ago.”

Zardari said he knows that the people are facing problems like shortage of water, electricity and jobs but assured that the government has taken a number of steps which would resolve these problems in near future. While thanking the people of Khairpur “for always standing by the PPP”, he said that “supporting his party means supporting Pakistan”.

Earlier, President Zardari also interacted with locals of Naudero, and after enquiring about their problems, issued on-spot orders for their relief.