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President promises smooth transitionPresident Asif Ali Zardari Baloch promised on Wednesday free and fair elections and smooth transition of power and said the government had tried to eliminate chances of poll rigging with the preparation of computerized voter lists.

“I will honour the mandate to be given by the people and hand over government to victorious political party,” he said while addressing a public meeting, officially called an Eid Milan party, in Malakwal, Mandi Bahauddin district, about 100-km from here.

He ruled out early elections and said the parliament would complete its term.

He said it was for the first time since early 70s that parliament was completing its five-year term, but added that more efforts were needed to strengthen democracy.

He rejected a perception that the state had failed in Karachi and said the situation in the port city had been destabilized by certain elements to stop the government from concentrating on other issues.

He called upon all political forces to join hands with the PPP to chalk out a 25-year or 50-year plan to make Pakistan a civilised and prosperous democratic nation because, he said, five-year development programmes would not be able to steer the country out of the current situation.

He said history had proved Benazir Bhutto’s contention that she had been deprived of success in the 1990 general elections. He said he had been advancing the ideology of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and wanted to be buried in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto.

President Zardari, who also spoke in Punjabi for some time, said he was trying to acquire fluency in the language because he would soon start living in Lahore.

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