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I have no regrets, says exiting Pak president Zardari

Islamabad: Outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari has said that he is leaving the Presidency as a satisfied man after overseeing the first-ever democratic transition of power in Pakistan and relinquishing Presidential powers to Parliament. "Democratic transition to power means strengthening of democracy and I'm confident that Pakistan will be the ultimate winner," Zardari said while speaking at a farewell dinner he hosted for journalists at the Presidency last night.

"I have no regrets. I'm exiting the Presidency with honour and dignity," said 58-year-old Zardari, who will step down on September 8 after completing his five-year term. PML-N leader Mamnoon Hussain, who won the July 30 Presidential Elections, will succeed Zardari. The President said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will extend complete support to the PML-N government in tackling the challenges like terrorism and economic recovery.

Asif Ali Zardari. Agencies.

Asif Ali Zardari. Agencies.

He said the PPP accepted the elections despite "reservations". "But at the same time it is also our democratic right to criticise wrong decisions of the government," he was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune. Talking about the performance of the previous PPP government, he admitted that it might have committed failures but democratic transition of power is its biggest achievement.

He said the PPP could not implement its welfare agenda due to scarce resources. "Today even Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto would acknowledge that democracy is the best revenge," he said referring to the PPP's slain chairperson. "People failed to understand when I used to say, 'we have come to create history, not to make headlines'".

Zardari said he believed in the freedom of expression as an inalienable democratic right of the people. "We tolerated scathing criticism for the sake of democracy," he said. "Others should learn from the criticism I and my party faced. Politicians are people's representatives and people have the right to criticise them," he added.

PTI

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