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No one can 'attack' democracy in future: PM Raja Ashraf

17 March, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday hailed parliament's historic completion of a full term in office as a victory for democracy and remarked that the government has strengthened democracy so much that no one will be able to derail it in the future.

In his farewell address to the nation, aired live on national television channels and radio, the prime minister said, "Despite all odds, completion of the term is an extraordinary and historic achievement." He added that the journey of democracy to this stage has seen many difficulties, tests and tribulations. He said there was a long history of conflict between the democratic and non-democratic forces in the country, however the democratic forces have finally succeeded.

Raja said an elected democratic government was in the final phase of constitutional transfer of power. He thanked all the political parties and institutions that played their part in strengthening democracy. The prime minister said that at this stage he would not like to go into the bitter past, but for a brighter future it was important to take a look at the past. He noted that Pakistan's first prime minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, was shot dead.

This, he added, was followed by conspiracies against several other prime ministers, to the extent that the most popular leader of all times Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged to death. He said, "This friend of Pakistan was removed from power and hanged in a baseless court case." Raja further said that after the end of era of martial law of General Ziaul Haq, the people of Pakistan brought into power Benazir Bhutto; however, conspiracies against democracy continued and her government was removed unconstitutionally.

Raja said that the verdict in the Asghar Khan case proved correct Benazir Bhutto's claim that the 1990 elections were stolen. He said that no prime minister, including Muhammad Khan Junejo and Nawaz Sharif, was able to complete his/her constitutional term in office, and referred to what happened to his predecessor in the recent past. Prime Minister Raja said it was unfortunate that whenever PPP came into power, it got a shaky state, surrounded by innumerable problems.

The prime minister said his government believed in dialogue, but stressed that that could only be achieved within the ambit of state, constitution, parliament and laws of the land. He said Pakistan's interests were supreme over all other things. "I salute all the institutions and armed forces of Pakistan, who have rendered innumerable sacrifices for the security and sovereignty of the country."

He added, "It is true that we have not been able to turn Pakistan into a land of all honey and milk in the past five years, but we have lessened the inherited problems and strengthened democracy so much that no one will be able to derail it in future." He said the president decided that instead of transferring his powers to a person they should be transferred to parliament so that democracy could be saved from conspiracies.

Prime Minister Raja said that the 18th Amendment created a new democratic federation; accepted the rights of provinces on their resources; eliminated the Concurrent List, transferred social sector's powers and resources to the provinces, the constitution was cleared from influence of last vestiges of dictators, strengthened democratic, federating and parliamentary structure, laid new foundation of politics and the state, made consultation and reconciliation a form of politics, strengthened the federating units, which strengthened the federation.


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