LAHORE - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the members of the legal fraternity have proven themselves as shield against the anti-democratic forces and it is the result of their efforts supported by the nation that country is having a democratic system, while the political forces in Pakistan have formed consensus on the minimum rules of the game. The Prime Minister expressed these views while addressing a dinner reception hosted in honour of the newly elected office-bearers of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) held at Governors House on Saturday. Besides a good number of lawyers senior and notable personalities were also present on that occasion. Among others Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa, Governor Punjab, Babar Awan, Federal Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association attended the reception. Gilani said that it is indeed a matter of immense privilege and personal honour for him to speak to this distinguished gathering of top lawyers, jurists and intellectuals. He also thanked SCBA for accepting his invitation. He paid rich tributes to the legal fraternity for their role in restoration of democracy. He further said that he would not be exaggerating if he says that the lawyers community has been the first shield of defence against the undemocratic forces and rendered immense sacrifices to make sure that peoples inalienable right to determine their future is protected at every cost. Gilani said that history of past 63 years or even before is a beacon of light for this nation and the heroic sacrifices for democracy and the rule of law by the members of the legal fraternity have inspired people to believe in the idea of Pakistan. Lawyers have been the harbinger of change and hope, he added. He said that when the history of democracy in Pakistan gets written, their role would be written in golden letters in the annals of history and no historian would be able to overlook their selfless sacrifices. Gilani said that the long-term resolution to the contemporary challenges faced by the State and society lies in the continuation of democracy. 'Many of the present-day predicaments owe themselves to weak democratic institutions, he said. He said:'I have my firm conviction that its future and the collective interests of our nation would only be secured through democracy, adding, 'the absence of democracy has hurt our polity a great deal. He said that the lawyers would agree with him that the forces of terrorism and extremism found chance to emerge and cause havoc for want of alternative ideology of democracy and rule of law. 'Democracy in its very essence is inclusive and participatory, he said, adding, that it seeks to form consensus among various and at times opposing elements to form a national opinion on vital issues. He said that he is pleased to apprise that political forces in Pakistan have formed consensus on the minimum rules of the game. The signing of 'Charter of Democracy between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif represents a fresh beginning for democracy in the country, he added. He said that it may not matter as to which political party is in power as long as the system of democracy is functioning. Gilani said given the multiple and diverse challenges facing today, it is his earnest belief that it is beyond a single individual and a single political party to find lasting solutions to the otherwise intractable problems. He said that at a time when cracks in polity appear to widen, it is the policy of reconciliation and dialogue that has the potential of putting balm on our festering wounds. The Prime Minister said that the consensus adoption of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award would empower the federating units politically, administratively and financially by removing their deprivations. 'All these achievements have been possible due to the idea of reconciliation originally advocated by Shaheed Ms Benazir Bhutto, he said. He said that this policy of taking everyone on board has characterised the functioning of my government. 'I believe that we need to rise above our narrow prejudices, likes and dislikes and work together in a spirit of harmony and cooperation. The government believes in complete independence of judiciary and is committed to upholding the rule of law, he said. The Prime Minister said: 'We hold judiciary in high esteem ,adding, that the government has always respected and accepted the verdicts of judiciary whether they were related to NRO or the promotion in the top echelon of bureaucracy. 'Despite never-ending and self-styled news analysis saying clash between the executive and the judiciary, nothing of the sorts happened, he added. He said, 'I take this opportunity to reject all rumours and speculations about any clash between the State institutions. 'The passage of the 19th Constitutional Amendment is a historic feat, he added. He said that the very fact that following the adoption of the 18th Amendment, second Constitutional Amendment has been adopted by the Parliament in a span of one year speaks volumes about the maturity, strength and dynamism of our political system. 'It shows that democratic system has the potential to resolve the contemporary issues facing the nation provided it is given time to work itself out, he added. He said that these amendments not only bring the basic law in line with contemporary demands but also affirm the authenticity of politics of consensus and reconciliation espoused by the present government. The way all political forces in the country have risen above their party interests and showed complete unity deserves our collective appreciation, Gilani said. He also said that the coming together of political forces on key national issues in a spirit of harmony, good will and mutual cooperation is good for the continuation of democratic system in the country. He that the solution to Pakistans chronic problems lies in the collective political wisdom that has been demonstrated on the occasion of passage of the historic 18th and the 19th Constitutional Amendments. Gilani said: 'I am sure that the passage of the 19th Constitutional Amendment would further strengthen our national institutions and create harmony among them ,adding, that it would draw clear demarcations between all organs of the state, which have been defined by the Constitution. He also said that this independence and inter-dependence of national institutions would make our Federation strong besides ensuring effective service delivery. He said that on this occasion he would also like to congratulate all political parties, their members and leaders for their inspiring and positive role during the course of passage of the Amendments. He said: 'I have no illusion of everything being perfect in Pakistan and we have our problems and worries and there is a lot that needs to be done. The Prime Minister said: 'It is yet no time to rest on our laurels. I urge the legal fraternity to come forward and lend a helping hand in solidifying the gains. 'We expect you to criticise the government constructively where necessary and support us when needed to cope with challenges of huge proportions, he said. He said that he is sure that if 'we pool our resources and energies together and forge unity in our ranks, we can realize a Pakistan of the Quaids dreams. He said that basic objective of all the State institutions is to develop a just social order in the society in which every individual enjoys his fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.