No force can end democracy in Pak: Ashraf



No force can end democracy in Pak: Ashraf Islamabad: Pakistan's new Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday took on his party's detractors saying those who thought the democratic set-up could be ended by ousting his predecessor have been proved wrong.

"Some people thought if he (Yousuf Raza Gilani) is sent away, then democracy can be ended. But you have seen the commitment of the people and Parliament of Pakistan and those who are linked to democracy," Ashraf said.

"So if Yousuf Raza Gilani is not there, a PPP member from the workers' class called Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is there," he said while interacting with reporters at the Bhutto family's mausoleum at Garhi Khuda Baksh in southern Sindh province.

Ashraf contended that "no force in the world" could end democracy in Pakistan.

He said "an individual can be sent to jail or finished" but the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party's philosophy will move forward and become stronger with time.

The PPP is currently being led by President Asif Ali Zardari and in time, it would be led by his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said Ashraf.

Ashraf was elected premier during a special session of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament last week after Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court due to his conviction of contempt.

Gilani was convicted and given a symbolic sentence of less than a minute by the apex court in April for refusing to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against Zardari.

Responding to question from the reporters, Ashraf said improving law and order and addressing the energy crisis would be top priorities of his government.

All capabilities will be used to control law and order and the energy crisis, he said.

Ashraf further indicated that his government would continue the politics of reconciliation of his predecessor.

"We respect all institutions and there will be no politics of conflict with any institution. We have even tried to take our political opponents along," he said.

The PPP is opposed to politics of confrontation as it weakens institutions, he said.

"The Parliament has to be strengthened...It is only through a democratic set-up that we can strengthen democracy," he added.

Ashraf visited the Bhutto family's mausoleum with several ministers and PPP lawmakers and laid wreaths at the graves of former premiers Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

He paid tribute to the members of the Bhutto family and pledged to carry forward the mission of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

PTI