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Bilawal Bhutto Urges Continued Commitment to Charter of Democracy Implementation

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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the People’s Party and Foreign Minister, emphasized the importance of the Charter of Democracy (CoD) as he commemorated its signing on this day. Bilawal Bhutto highlighted that the historic CoD was signed by the late Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif, and stressed the need for perseverance in its implementation to enhance the country’s dignity and prestige.

Bilawal Bhutto acknowledged the contribution of Asif Ali Zardari, former president and leader of the People’s Party, in implementing the charter by delegating presidential powers to the parliament. He also underscored the significance of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which strengthened the relationship between the federation and its federating units.

Expressing concern, Bilawal Bhutto noted the recent challenges faced by the parliament, including attacks on its powers and attempts to draft a new constitution that would not be accepted by the People’s Party. He reiterated that it is the mandate of the parliament to legislate for the constitution and emphasized the importance of state institutions in implementing laws enacted by the parliament. He called for the enforcement of the remaining points of the CoD and emphasized that the parliament is the supreme institution that everyone must respect and adhere to.

The Charter of Democracy, now in its 17th year, aimed to establish a political system of harmony and reconciliation in Pakistan, ensuring the continuity of a strong democratic system. By setting aside their past differences, the two major political parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) adopted the 36-point CoD, pledging to respect the electoral mandates of representative governments and refrain from undermining each other through extra-constitutional means.

The CoD encompassed constitutional amendments, a code of conduct, provisions for free and fair elections, and improved civil-military relations. It addressed various aspects that had hindered the growth of democracy in Pakistan. Over time, additional parties of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Jamhoori Watan Party, Pakistan Democratic Party, Jamiat Ahle Hadith, and Pakistan Christian Party, also signed the CoD document.

One of the significant outcomes of the CoD was the historic 18th Amendment, which reversed infringements on the constitution of Pakistan. This amendment granted greater autonomy to the provinces, devolving many subjects and abolishing the concurrent list. Additionally, the amendment shifted the powers of the president to the parliament and renamed the North-West Frontier Province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Bilawal Bhutto’s call for perseverance in implementing the Charter of Democracy serves as a reminder of the commitment to a strong democratic system in Pakistan. The CoD, with its core principles and contributions to constitutional amendments, has played a vital role in addressing past challenges and ensuring the progress of democracy in the country.

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