PCO not to slow down democratic process: Aziz

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Islamabad, Nov 7: Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has stressed that the imposition of emergency and the promulgation of the Provisional Constitution Order would neither delay the elections nor slow down the democratic process in the country.

Addressing the meeting of the federal cabinet yesterday, he said the step was primarily intended to address the extraordinary security situation prevailing in the country.

''No country can be governed effectively unless there is harmony amongst all the three pillars of the state--legislature, judiciary and executive and they function independently within their constitutional mandate. This decision will create such a harmony,'' the Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying.

He further added the constitutional writ of the government was damaged through various actions which made governance difficult.

Reiterating his and President Pervez Musharraf's belief in the independence of the judiciary, he said,''We have the greatest regard and respect for the judiciary.'' The cabinet endorsed the proclamation of emergency and promulgation of the PCO by Gen Musharraf on Saturday. It expressed the confidence that it would put the democratic process on track and facilitate the holding of general elections.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Muhammad Ali Durrani said the emergency period would be minimal and early elections are a priority for the government.

Briefing mediapersons at his office, he said all future decisions would be taken under the constitutional provisions.

About timeframe of lifting ban on the TV channels transmission, the Minister said the government would not compromise on its commitment regarding the freedom of expression.

''We have given unprecedented liberties to the media and we would ensure this freedom in days ahead. Independent, vibrant and responsible media is top priority of the government,'' he said.

UNI

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