WASHINGTON - Parliamentarians for Global Action, an organisation of legislators from around the world, has conferred Defender of Democracy Award on prominent lawyer and PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan in recognition of his commitment to democratic values. The citation at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, attended by parliamentarians from more than 50 countries at Library of Congress, particularly noted Aitzazs contributions as leading constitutional and human rights attorney, defender of political prisoners including martyred prime minister Benazir Bhutto, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and most recently as defence counsel for Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Receiving the coveted award, Aitzaz recounted some aspects of his struggle for democracy and the rule of law in various phases of the countrys recent history and applauded the lawyers movement for restoration of independent judiciary as one of the most important non-violent, plural, popular and peaceful struggles for moderate values and the rule of law in the Islamic world. The Pakistanis have an instinctive urge to live under democratic dispensation, he said but added that democracy and the rule of law must go hand in hand. Pakistan, he said, had returned to democratic rule after a long period of dictatorship and the current elected government had the right to govern the country for its mandated term of five years. He said the Western governments did not come out in wholehearted support for the lawyers movement under the previous Musharraf regime. However, Ahsan thanked the US senators who wrote a letter to the Pakistani government to secure release of deposed judges and lawyers detained in 2007-08. The lawyer, who has also authored several books, mentioned the fact that Pakistan suffered immensely under dictatorships and was now fighting a war against terrorism with no foreseeable end.