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'Democracy alone can root out terror from Pak'

The spread of terrorism and militancy within Pakistan can be tackled only by strengthening democracy and freeing the country from military dictatorship, President Asif Ali Zardari said today.

world Updated: Dec 11, 2008 15:46 IST

The spread of terrorism and militancy within Pakistan can be tackled only by strengthening democracy and freeing the country from military dictatorship, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday.

In a statement issued after the conferment of the UN Human Rights Award on his slain wife, Zardari said: "The best way to pay tribute to the memory of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is to refuse to compromise with the militants and expose and banish them from our midst."

The "government is committed to fight militants and militancy and not let them impose their extremist agenda on the people of Pakistan through force and violence", he said.

The prestigious award was accepted at a ceremony in New York by ruling Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was made the party chief after Bhutto's assassination by a suicide bomber nearly a year ago.

Zardari said Pakistan would have to work on Bhutto's vision of strengthening democracy and tackling militancy.

He said Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile last year for bringing democracy because she believed that "a democratic Pakistan free from the yolk of military dictatorship would cease to be the petri dish of international terrorism".

"To do this we need to banish militancy, strengthen the national institutions of democracy and create a credible system of accountability," the President said.

His remarks came hours after the UN Security Council declared the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front for the banned Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba, and placed four top LeT leaders on a list of terrorists subject to sanctions.