ISLAMABAD - Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Tuesday that democracy not only guarantees peace but safeguards human rights also.

He made these remarks in a meeting with a Swedish Parliament speaker Per Westerberg who called on him along with a parliamentary delegation. 

Rashid said Pakistan highly values its ties with Sweden as both nations share the common values of parliamentary democracy and pluralism. He said that the government believes in women empowerment as prime minister of Pakistan has emphasised on the need of increased participation by women in all spheres of public life. He told the delegation that women parliamentarians in Pakistan play a pro-active role by participating in debates and giving valuable suggestions and proposals in the committees of the house.

The parliament has also adopted many legislative measures to ensure gender equality and women rights in Pakistan, the minister said. The national commission on the status of women is functioning and the issues related to violence against women are taken up accordingly, he said.

The minister said Pakistan is a democratic state where free media and vibrant civil society play their due role by cultivating public awareness regarding their inalienable rights and their duties towards the state. The present democratic government has signed various MoUs related to human rights with INGOs and is fully cognisant of its obligations as a responsible member of international community, the minister stressed. He assured the delegation that the government would make every effort to safeguard the rights of minorities and the constitution of Pakistan already provides guaranty in this regard.

Rashid stressed on the need of parliamentary exchanges between both countries to help promote bilateral ties between Sweden and Pakistan. He also urged the visiting delegation to take advantage from the investment opportunities in Pakistan, particularly in the field of energy and infrastructure. He said that Pakistan would like to build a broad based, substantive and long-term relationship with Sweden on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation.

Per Westerberg agreed with the minister on the need of regular parliamentary exchanges, as they would enhance bilateral relations between both countries. He also wished that democracy might further flourish and take its deep roots in Pakistan.

Earlier, in a meeting with Janan Mosazai, ambassador of Afghanistan, the minister said media can be an effective tool in further fostering corporation and friendly ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both dignities discussed matters of mutual interests, particularly corporation in the field of media, culture and information came under discussion. Rashid instructed the concerned officials for effective implementation of MoUs signed between the two countries in the filed of media and culture.