ISLAMABAD (APP) President Asif Ali Zardari urged the international community to assist democratic forces of the country in strengthening of democratic institutions. The President was talking to Ms. Sandra Houston, Country Director for National Democratic Institute (NDI) Pakistan office on Wednesday during a meeting at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Ms. Sandra apprised the President of NDI efforts to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions and the activities of the institute. The President said that the sharing of expertise with the other stakeholders of the democratic apparatus was also essential in order to equip them with latest knowledge to enable them to safeguard the democratic ideals. He said democracy was the only available option with the people as a bulwark against extremism, poverty, deprivation and militancy. He said that the democratic government with the support of the people had proved that it was the only potent force to resist extremism and militancy but also to promoting socio-economic development of the people. The President said that the interruptions in the past in the way of democracy had debilitated institutional capabilities of the democratic set ups which the present government was trying to heal. He said that doing away with the undemocratic insertions by the dictatorial regimes in the Constitution was no small achievement of the present government if viewed with the perspective of political spectrum of the country. He said that the objective behind the introduction and the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment was to purge the Constitution of its distortions and to re-establish the sovereignty of the Parliament and Constitutional supremacy. He said that the government was working on plans to strengthen democratic procedures and institutions. Sandra Houston thanked the President for meeting and assured that the Institute would continue to work for promoting democratic ideals and would continue to assist local authorities for the cause of strengthening democracy and democratic institutions.