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Democracy much more than holding elections periodically: Asif Ali Zardari

16 September, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: Speaking on International Democracy Day, which is marked on September 15, former president Asif Ali Zardari has said that democracy demands that all institutions respect the limits imposed on them by the constitution. In his message on the day, the former president said that democracy was much 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 dissent are also critical elements of democracy, he said. The enemies of democracy keep changing guise and tactics.

From direct assault on the democracy in the past we have witnessed democratic edifice assaulted by such devices as the doctrine of necessity, the so-called legal frame work order and provisional constitutional orders (PCOs). Fighting militancy and corruption are laudable aims and must be pursued with vigor but let not altruism be used as an excuse to overstep the constitutional limits and authority, he said. 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 democratic structures and needs to be addressed urgently and meaningfully, he said. “Such perceptions must not be allowed to gain strength”.

The former president also caution against threats to democracy from the militant mindset seeking to impose their extremist agenda through force. He congratulated the democratic forces in the world in general and in Pakistan in particular.

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