ISLAMABAD - Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani yesterday underlined the need for taking solid measures to ensure rule of Law and supremacy of Parliament for tackling challenges effectively.

Addressing a conference held here to pay tribute to women parliamentarians as part of International Women Day's events by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) and Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA), Rabbani said mere transferring of power from government to other was not enough, rather there was a need to ensure continuation of democratic process to meet challenges the country was facing.

In this regard, he said civil society had to speak out and its voices needed to be heard to keep the democratic process going for strengthening parliament. He said dictators dealt a fatal blow to the democratic continuation in the country and during Zia era, by design, ban was imposed on student and trade unions and the liberation movements were mutilated.

As a result religious bigotry and extremis flourished with a mind-set to pull strings and undermine the Parliament.

On the other hand, he added Jihadi forces were allowed to hold conferences and meetings which created space for militancy and the country was still facing its fallout in different shapes, he observed.

Owing to supporting one side, pro-extremist movements got nourished and today well-educated students of good-reputed educational institutions harbored such extremist thoughts and showed inclination towards such movements.

Moreover, Parliament had to justify its existence as to why it was necessary to have it in the country despite the fact other institutions explained about their utility such as how and where they spent budget or funds etc.

He said article 6, was meant to defend and protect the Constitution, but unfortunately the article failed to defend. As a result, Parliament had to enact 18th Amendment to wider its scope and ensure equality of Law. Suggesting a way-out, the chairman senate, the civil society and people of Pakistan had to play role in ensuring supremacy of Law and the Parliament.

He said people would act when they felt sense of ownership, so they should be given ownership in the Parliament and to achieve the objective, there was need to move forward should to shoulder. About the report unveiled about women Parliamentarian's role in the country's socio-economic development, the chairman senate said though its data sound impressive, but the country's women's role in democratic process and socio-economic development was far greater.

He said history was replete with excellent role of Pakistani women who had to undergo imprisonment, laid down their lives and worked tirelessly for betterment of downtrodden segment of the society. He said these brilliant women broke taboos and raised voice for the women's emancipation and their empowerment.

He said Pakistan was the first country among the Muslim countries to have installed woman as prime minister, similarly, Balochistan Assembly had woman speaker while assemblies of Sindh and KPK had also woman deputy speakers.

Other speakers Ziauddin, TDEA chairperson and Shahid Fiaz CEO TDEA-FAFEN also highlighted the role of women in the country's socio-economic development of the country. They said women actively took part in legislation, introducing several bills, motions, resolutions and calling attention notices on different issues which showed they did not speak only for women rights, but they discussed other issues of the national interest as well.

Later, women parliamentarians were awarded shields in recognition of their role in national development.