United we stand for democracy. Reconciliation is the key word.

While the Supreme Court of Pakistan has struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the Central Executive Committee of Pakistan People’s Party has very wisely reasserted their commitment to the process of national reconciliation in the country.

The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Saturday, 19 Dec 2009, decided that party leaders would face National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases revived after the Supreme Court declared the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) unconstitutional. The CEC also decided that none of the ministers facing corruption charges would resign.

Later, briefing reporters, the president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar quoted the president as saying the PPP would use “democracy and constitutionalism” as its weapons to fight its adversaries and foil all conspiracies against it.

He said the PPP co-chairman also categorically stated that the PPP would not be blackmailed into asking its ministers to resign merely on the basis of accusations against them, APP reported.

Addressing a news conference after the CEC meeting, which was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari, party’s Secretary General Jahangir Badar and Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab said the meeting concluded that the PPP believed in the rule of law and supremacy of the constitution.

They said the party reiterated that it respected institutions and “hopes that all institutions will play their role while remaining within their ambit to serve the country”.

Defence: “The party decided to defend those party leaders who were politically victimised in the courts and will not leave them alone in keeping with its past policy. The party will not only strive to get justice for them but will also extend its help wherever there is injustice,” they added.

Badar said the PPP could give a befitting response to its opponents but it wanted to maintain its policy of reconciliation.

To another question, he said the PPP had faced accountability in the past and it was not afraid of the process.

He said no system except democracy could be successful in Pakistan in the prevailing geo-political environment. He said we could strengthen solidarity and ensure progress of the country only through democracy.

In the words of an editorial in Daily Times:

“Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani mounted a vigorous defence of President Asif Ali Zardari during an interaction with the media. His thrust was that all the cases against the president were politically motivated and, despite spending 12 years in jail, nothing had been proved against him. ..Party consultations in the presidency and with allies seem to convey the impression that the PPP has decided there will be no resignations because such a course night open a Pandora’s box whose ultimate victim could well be the president… Those opposed to Mr Zardari or the PPP may want to go beyond the remit of the SC verdict, but they are on thin constitutional and legal ground here. Now that the PPP seems to have girded up its loins, the danger of political confrontation (with the PML-N first and foremost) and between the executive and judiciary cannot be ruled out. The best advice to all players would be to exercise restraint in the straitened circumstances in which the country finds itself, let politics be conducted in a civilised and democratic spirit and let each institution of state function within its own orbit, not on others’ turf. ” Source

Pathway to Sustaining Democracy

1. Reconciliation with all, in particular with other democratic parties in the parliament, including PML-N, ANP, MQM, PML-Q and JUI-F.

2. Avoiding unnecessary confrontation with other institutions of the state including judiciary and army.

3. Polite assertion and exercise of the constitutional supremacy of the parliament and the democratic government.

4. Eradication of corruption at all levels.

5. Complete freedom to media subject to the media’s own defined code of conduct.

5. Service, with dedication, of the people of Pakistan according to the PPP’s election manifesto.

6. Commitment towards a ruthless military operation against all sectarian and jihadi organisations and elements who have challenged the writ of the state.

Finally, don’t be provoked. It is a test match, not 20-20. The PPP government’s democratic and constitutional position is very strong; don’t play on your opponents’ pitch; stand your ground. Reconciliation is the key word!



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