ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the greatest threat to democracy emanated from a militant mindset and called for defeating militancy and extremism and advance democratic values. “The greatest threat to democracy is from the extremists and militants who want to foist their political agenda on the people by bullet rather than ballot and also from intolerance to dissent and disagreement.”
“Let us on this day pledge to fight the dark forces of militancy and extremism and allow the blossoming of democratic culture in the country”, the President said in a message on the occasion of International Democracy Day being observed throughout the world on September 15 (Thursday) under the auspices of the United Nations.
The President congratulated the democratic forces in the world in general and in Pakistan in particular on the International Day of Democracy, and said “It is a day to re-affirm its commitment for democracy and democratic ideals around the world and in Pakistan.”
“On this occasion I wish to compliment all democracies of the world and also reiterate our firm resolve to further strengthen democracy in Pakistan,” he added.
The President said the people of Pakistan are resolute in safeguarding their democratic rights and moving forward on path of democracy against all odds and what the machinations against it.
“It is a attribute to the democratic genius of our people that despite setbacks to democracy our people have not allowed dictatorship to take roots in the country,” he added.
The President said the ethos of the people of Pakistan is democratic, adding, last year, their chosen representatives unanimously adopted changes in the Constitution to restore its pristine democratic credentials.
“I am confident the elected Parliament in keeping with democratic traditions ensure that the democratic Constitution is not subverted by any one,” he added.
The President said, “Our march on the road to democracy continues. During the year 2011 democracy took yet another stride forward in Pakistan when the people of tribal areas were given their democratic rights with consensus.”
“The Amendments in the FCR and Extension of the Political Parties Order 2002 has been designed to release the people of tribal areas in accordance with their wishes from the over a century old system of bondage and undemocratic dispensation,” he added.
The President said democracy will be strengthened by meeting the basic needs of the people and freeing them from the clutches of poverty and deprivation.
The devastation caused by incessant rains and floods in Sindh and other parts of the country has adversely impacted on the efforts aimed at poverty alleviation and meeting the needs of the people, he added.
“On this occasion therefore I also urge the people of Pakistan and the international community to step forward and help rehabilitate the lives that have been devastated by floods”, he added.
“It is hoped that the observance of the International Democracy Day will lend strength to the pro-democracy forces throughout the world and discourage potential dictators from curbing the aspirations of the people through political adventurism,” the President maintained.