ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday urged the nation to stand firm and united for safeguarding and strengthening democracy and to resolve never to allow the constitution to be subverted.

In his message on Independence Day, the president extended his felicitations to all Pakistanis living in the country and abroad.

“Unfortunately Pakistan’s history was marred by repeated assaults on democracy and abrogation of the Constitution, which was also endorsed by some state institutions. Let us resolve that we will never allow the Constitution to be subverted nor the democratic process derailed,” the President said.

“In the fullness of time those, who subverted the Constitution, and those, who lent legitimacy to its abrogation and subversion, must be punished; they will be. It is indeed for the democratic Parliament to decide on how to punish them.”

He urged the people to rededicate themselves once again to the democratic ideals and principles for which Pakistan was created. President Zardari said repeated ambushes against the democratic process and abrogation of the Constitution had resulted in the weakening of democratic institutions and entrenching of non-democratic forces in a culture of secrecy. He said the civilian political structures were weakened as Pakistan was driven away from a welfare state to a security driven state with enormous damage to body politic.