LAHORE - Speakers at a seminar have stressed the need for protecting rights of federating units and devolution of power to the grass root level through local government system for strengthening the federation and democratic process.

Speaking at a seminar on Federalism and Democracy arranged by Liberal Forum Pakistan at a local hotel on Sunday, they also urged strengthening of institutions and promoting democratic values for ensuring provision of facilities to the masses.

Addressing the participants, Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal said that giving rights to the province was not enough and there was need to devolve power to the grass root level through local government system to strengthen federation. She said that it was unfortunate that dictators and not the elected government always promote local government system. She said that that there was need of promoting democratic values among elected rulers.

Justice (r) Faqir Muhammad Khokar said that it was unfortunate that democratically elected rulers always avoided sharing powers with LG institutions. He said that passage of 18th amendment was a step in the right direction and there was need of taking measures to empower masses. He said that it would help controlling separatist movements like the one in Balochistan. He said that there was no harm in establishing more federating units as it would strengthen and not weaken the federation.

PPP leader Naveed Chaudhry said that democracy would strengthen with the strengthening of institutions. He said that 18th amendment has transferred all powers to the Parliament which reflected democratic mindset of the PPP. He said that blaming democracy for the bad governance was injustice. He said that undemocratic attitude caused people to come out on roads and stage sit ins.

ANP leader Ehsan Wayne said that federating units gave sacrifices for creation of Pakistan. He said that giving rights to the provinces would strengthen Pakistan. He said that passage of 18th amendment was a step in the right direction and the democracy would strengthen further in days to come.

Former Provincial Minister for Education Mian Imran Masood said service delivery was as important as democracy. He said that his party believed in devolution and it has given proof by introducing and implementing local government system in the country.