Former president and Co-Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari returned Friday to Pakistan in a private jet from Dubai.

Addressing supporters upon his return, he said, “I remember the day when Bibi (Benazir Bhutto) came here and you were here to welcome her. Bibi is [still] here with us, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is [also] here with us.”

“There is a lot of dismay at the moment in the country but I do not have a plan of despair. I have brought the message of hope,” he added.

“Pakistan is a nation that has overcome all challenges. Pakistan is not a country of terrorists,” the former president said.

“It does not matter who is in power today. It matters who will lead us tomorrow,” he said, assuring his supporters that PPP will be in power again.

“I want to send a message to all political actors in this country ─ We may occasionally leave the country, but we will always be buried in its soil,” the co-chairman of PPP said.

“Those taking credit for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) seemed to have forgotten who the architect for the plan was,” he said, adding that CPEC is not just a road but a much more comprehensive development project.

According to media reports, Zardari left for Bilawal House, the PPP headquarters in Karachi, after the speech in a helicopter.

Zardari returned to Pakistan after abruptly leaving the country in June last year following a hard-hitting speech, in which he lashed out at the military establishment for overstepping its domain.

He was accompanied on his return by political stalwarts Babar Awan, Rehman Malik and seven others.

Zardari met Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani at the waiting lounge of the old Jinnah terminal before making his public appearance.

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