Parliamentarians, activists call for efforts to strengthen democracy

City Reporter

Parliamentarians, academicians, human right activists and youth representatives during a dialogue titled “Democracy and Conflict Prevention” on Saturday urged for collaborative efforts to further strengthen democratic values. The event was organized by Centre for Civic Education Pakistan at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) here in connection with International Democracy Day 2017.
The speakers of the dialogue included Senator Hidayat Ullah Khan Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production, Tahir Iqbal Ch. Member National Assembly, Shafique Chaudhry and Dr. Yahya Ahmed Members National Commission for Human Rights, Muhammad Murtaza Noor National Coordinator Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Islamabad, Liaquat Shahwani analyst and human rights activist and Muhammad Waqas Saleem Department of Anthropology, QAU Islamabad. While sharing research findings of study conducted by Centre for Civic Education, Murtaza Noor National Coordinator Inter University Consortium informed that out of total 25,599 days in Pakistan, democracy functioned for 9,892 days (39%).
He said that based on indicators of electoral process and pluralism, political performance, functioning of government, civil liberties and political culture, Pakistan stood at 111th position out of 167 countries in Democracy Index for the year 2016. Muhammad Waqas Saleem, faculty member from QAU highlighted the vital role of Parliament in order to bridge the gap between state and society. He also urged dialogue and frequent interaction between academia and parliamentarians to strengthen democracy in Pakistan.
Liaquat Shahwani said that the Constitution of Pakistan clearly stipulates that adequate provisions shall be made for ensuring supremacy of Constitution, rule of law, decentralization, independence of judiciary and equality of citizenship. Member National Commission for Human Rights, Shafique Chaudhry urged supremacy of Constitution, inclusion of civic education in curriculum and adoption of democratic attitude at individual level. He was of the view that through restoration of student unions, extremism could be overcome at the educational institutions.
Member National Assembly, Tahir Iqbal said that Pakistan was created as a separate federal country in 1947 on the basis of democratic struggle and power of vote. Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his various speeches strongly advocated democracy and democratic values including equality of all citizens and active participation of women in every walk of life.
Senator Hidayat Ullah Khan Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production said that democracy was the best model to resolve disputes. He emphasized on promotion of democratic values of liberty, equality, human rights and the rule of law. He further stated that resilient societies resolve disputes through mediation, respecting others’ views, promoting culture of dialogue and a reasonable degree of legitimacy of their institutions.

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