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Respect ballot's power to effect change: Zardari

world Updated: Dec 25, 2011 18:49 IST

Pakistan's President and Prime Minister, on the backfoot in the wake of the memogate scandal, have urged the nation to keep their faith in the ballot as the instrument of change and not use force to bring this about.

In his message on the 135th birth anniversary of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah on Sunday, President Asif Ali Zardari called for respecting the power of the ballot as the instrument of change and not allow force and intimidation for such a change to take place.

Stating that Jinnah envisaged Pakistan as a democratic nation, Zardari said: "The Father of the Nation rejected any change by bullet and always favoured that it be done through ballot," Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.

"Let us pledge that we will not allow any change through force and intimidation and respect the power of ballot as the instrument of change," President added.

Jinnah stood for constitutionalism, rule of law, respect for human rights, pluralism and honouring the mandate of the people, Zardari said.

In Karachi, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said parliament was the supreme institution and if anyone wanted either the Prime Minister or the President to quit, they must take recourse to laid down constitutional procedures, Geo News reported.

Any deviation from the set principles would pave way for the third party to encroach, he added.

"We respect everyone's mandate and have great regard for all institutions, but we all must function within the ambit of 1973 constitution", said Gilani while paying his homage to Jinnah at his mausoleum.

Gilani also pledged that the government would respect all institutions and would resolve all crises facing the nation.

Zardari's sudden departure earlier this month for Dubai for medical treatment had led to intense speculation with Gilani telling the Senate that the President feared for his life in Pakistan hospitals.

Though the President returned to Pakistan having spent nearly two weeks in Dubai, speculation is rife that he would not stay in the country for too long.