ISLAMABAD - Democracy is essential for peace, development and prosperity of the people and it needs to be promoted and strengthened worldwide, Centre for Culture and Development (C2D) stated in a talk on International Day of Democracy.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on the occasion of International Democracy Day held under the aegis of C2D, speakers stressed that fate of democracy in many countries is still either uncertain and autocratic regimes are still committing gross violations of fundamental human rights. The world must act responsibly and help end human rights abuse as part of the efforts to promote democracy worldwide, according to a press release of the C2D.

The International Democracy Day is annually held on September 15 as a result of the decision of the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 to raise public awareness about democracy and respect of citizens’ rights of the people.

Asad Jamal, a prominent lawyer, speaking on the occasion said that democracy is a universal value as fundamental rights of the people could not be protected in autocratic regimes. He also highlighted the intrinsic relationship between democracy and respect for human rights.

Dr Nadeem Omar said that upcoming elections in Pakistan would be of unprecedented importance as they would largely help strengthen democracy and promote democratic values in Pakistan. Hailing efforts of the political parties to ensure independence of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Dr Nadeem also stressed the need of observing election rules by political parties and contesting candidates to ensure transparency in voting results of the coming elections.

Referring to the Arab Spring, Arif Taj said that world powers must act responsibly and help the Arab people altruistically in having opportunity for true democracy and genuine elections otherwise the opportunity could turn out to be a disaster and pave way for anarchy, helping obscurant forces to breed more violence and causing instability in the region with grave global implications. He also highlighted the need for ‘democracy education’, theme of this year’s International Democracy Day. He said that democracy education can help people a great deal in holding genuine elections on the basis of universal suffrage and fully understand their rights and responsibilities.