Zardari warns of forces working against democracy

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On the eve of Democracy Day on Sunday, former president Asif Ali Zardari paid glowing tributes to all those who laid down their lives and endured imprisonment and exile for the protection and preservation of democracy in the country and also warned the people of the new forms of threats to democracy.

Zardari said the greatest threat to democracy emanated from the militant mindset who sought to impose their agenda through force. “We must be on the guard against the extremist mindset and must not allow appeasing the militants and extremists,” he said.

He warned the people against yet another dimension of the threat to democracy. In the past dictators and demagogues forcibly uprooted democratic structures but now threat to the will of the people emanated from imperceptible but systematic encroachment upon the parliament, the repository of the will of the people, he said.

Democracy-loving people throughout the country must be on the guard to protect the constitutional domain of each state organ and not permit the encroachments on any institution by another, he said.

Congratulating the democratic forces in the world in general, and in Pakistan in particular, on the International Day of Democracy, the former president said: “It is a day for all democratic forces to re-affirm commitment to democracy and to guard against direct and indirect threats to democratic order and stability”

Zardari also paid glowing tributes to Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as icons of democracy, and countless political leaders and workers belonging to different political parties who rendered huge sacrifices for the cause of democracy.

If dictatorship had not been able to take roots in Pakistan it was because of the huge sacrifices of all democracy loving people, he said.

Asif Ali Zardari expressed the hope that the observance of the International Democracy Day would strengthen the pro-democracy forces throughout the world and in Pakistan. He also hoped that the people of Pakistan would be awakened to the new forms of threats to democracy that seeks to undermine the parliament.