voice for democracy

No alternative to democracy, says Shireen Mazari – DAWN.com

ISLAMABAD: Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari on Wednesday said there was no alternative to democracy and people had won it after a lot of struggle and sacrifices.
Addressing a seminar on the International Day of Democracy organised by the Ministry of Information, the human rights minister said many people gave their life to get democracy, therefore, any discussion about alternative to democracy is irrelevant.
Dr Mazari said that parliament was supreme and gone are the days when democracy was under threat.
She said the PTI government was third elected government which was going to complete its five-year term.
“Central of gravity has shifted,” the minister said adding if citizens are given their constitutional rights by state, the country and democracy will progress.
She said her ministry had taken several initiatives related to human rights and also made new laws. She said that proposed enforced disappearance bill has also been introduced in the Parliament, which stated that state would be held responsible for enforced disappearance of citizens.
Shireen Mazari alleged that opposition parties had been creating hurdles in timely passage of several bills from standing committees.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistan was one of the few countries, which were created through democratic process.
He said Pakistan was functioning under democratic system, but there is debate about improving quality of democracy.
He claimed that for the last five days, a campaign is being run by media against him and Prime Minister on a fake ordinance [proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority].
The information minister said Pakistan had independent and vibrant media, which enjoyed more freedom than media outlets of neighbouring countries.
However, he said that there is a need for regulation, but a section of media owners wanted self regulations only.
He said that self accountability of constitutional bodies such as Election Commission and judiciary had also declined over the years, adding that judiciary can’t win respect through contempt as it can be earned through conduct.
Planning Minister Asad Umar said that Pakistani democracy has been making progress adding that free media is imperative for democracy but there should be some sort of accountability, adding if there is no system of regulation, then regulatory bodies role ends.
The minister said there should be talk between government and other stakeholders on media regulation issue.
The planning minister said the PTI government had given huge development package to Karachi, whereas, he said that record development work has been carried out in Balochistan. Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar said that PTI government had been taking steps for strengthening democracy and democratic intuitions.
He also highlighted legislations made by current assembly, adding that the expenses of Assembly secretariat were also reduced, he said that he has taken up the issue of media [PMDA] with information minister, asking him to take all stakeholders on board on this issue.
Defence analyst Maria Sultan, Dr Farhan Siddqi from School of Politics and International Relations Quaid-i-Azam Unviersity and several others also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021
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