ISLAMABAD - Acting President Mian Raza Rabbani yesterday said that continuity of the democratic process was the only panacea to rid the country of the social, political and economic ills.

He expressed these views while addressing a gathering at the book launching ceremony titled "Consistent Parliamentary Cord; The Fundamental Rights of the Citizens of Pakistan" authored by civic educationist Zafarullah Khan at Parliament House. The Senate of Pakistan has published the book.

Acting President pointed out: "The equality before law is missing and the rule of law has faded away. Unfortunately, in Pakistan we work under a system which has five types applicability of law." First, Raza Rabbani said that one set of rules and laws were for the ruling elite. He said that people violating Article 6 of the Constitution were not appearing before the court. The other set of rules, Raza Rabbani said, were for ruling civilian elite. He further explained the third category of rules was for collaborators of the ruling elite; the fourth was for the rich and the powerful and fifth was for the ordinary citizens of Pakistan. According to Constitution of Pakistan, all are equal before law and all deserve to be treated equally, he added.

He said that since, 1947 till today, a systemic effort was being made by certain quarters to make the people believe that the parliament, political class and political workers had failed to come to the expectation of the people of Pakistan. He further said that undemocratic interventions after every ten years created a gap due to which people remained unaware of their fundamental rights. "The parliamentary democratic system needs to be strengthened if we want to see the federation to flourish," he added. He said that the book clearly depicts the historical perspective of the parliamentary struggle for upholding the fundamental rights. He commended the efforts of the author and contribution made by the Senate Secretariat to highlight the importance of the fundamental rights.

Acting Chairman remarked that efforts were made to ensure the protection of human rights in Pakistan. The best way to protect the human rights is that parliament constantly makes laws that prohibit violation of human rights in the country.

Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Muhammad Zafar ul Haq said that there was denying the fact that the parliament, from day one, had been immensely conscious about fundamental rights. He further said that facts and figures about legislative efforts towards fundamental rights, as this book highlighted, were praiseworthy.

Author of the book Zafarullah Khan said that the flower of freedom could only blossom in the democratic environment. He emphasised on the efforts made by the parliament since 1947 to uphold and protect the human rights in the country.

Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez said that the book consisted of all the efforts carried out by parliament since its inception so that masses could come to know of the parliamentary efforts to ensure human rights in the country. Former Chairman Senate Nayyer Hussain Bokhari also underscored the need for continuity of the democratic system and commended the efforts of the author and the Senate Secretariat to take such a bold initiative. Senator Farhatullah Babar said that Parliament had always played its role while it was executive that had been creating hurdles in the implementation of the law in the past.

Former Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that unfortunately, people were critical of Parliament's role. The book tends to change their perception with official documented proof and a must read, adding that it is time that Parliament should assert itself in nation and state building.

Large number of senators, former Chairman Senate Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, former Deputy Chairmen Senate Jan Mohammad Jamali, civil society representatives and human rights activists joined the ceremony.