ISLAMABAD:(APS) Former president and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said the first and foremost demand of establishing true democracy is that all the state institutions respect the limits imposed on them by the Constitution.
“Fighting militancy and corruption are laudable aims but shall not be used as an excuse to overstep the constitutional limits and authority,” he said.
In a statement issued on the eve of ‘International Day of Democracy’ the PPP leader said that democracy is more than merely holding elections periodically to distribute political power among parties and individuals according to their electoral strength.
“Rule of law, restraining oneself within the constitutional limits, transparent and across the board accountability and tolerance to criticism are critical elements that constitute a democracy,” the former president said.
Zardari was of the view that the perception of powerful institutions overstepping their constitutional limits and treading into the domain of other institutions is not a good omen for the stability of a democracy and needs to be addressed urgently and meaningfully.
“Such perceptions must not be allowed to gain strength”, he said.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson maintained that Pakistan has seen democratic setups assaulted by devices such as the doctrine of necessity, the so called Legal Frame Work (LFO) order and Provisional Constitution Orders (PCOs).
“The enemies of democracy constantly change their faces and tactics,” he remarked.
Asif Ali Zardari also cautioned against threats to democracy from extremists, who in his view seek to arbitrarily impose their agenda.
Congratulating the democratic forces in the world in general and in Pakistan in particular on the ‘International Day of Democracy’ the former President expressed the hope that the celebrations today would enhance the awareness of people of Pakistan to the new forms of threats to democracy and guard against them.
He also paid glowing tributes to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto as icons of democracy and the countless political leaders and workers, belonging to different political parties, who rendered huge sacrifices for the cause of democracy.
If dictatorship has not been able to take roots in Pakistan it is because of the huge sacrifices rendered by all democracy loving people, the former president said.