Democratic system strong enough to withstand crises: President


President addresses Joint Session of Parliament

Reservations on CPEC weightless, Proposes monument for terror victims; Govt, Opposition urged to utilise potential of youth, women

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Giving a detailed overview of country’s political and economic situation as well as its successes in war on terror and relations with the outside world, President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Pakistan’s political progression and successful completion of three years of democratic journey is testimony to the political maturity of the nation.
“The nation is now convinced that the objective of sustainable development and stability is not possible without democracy,” the President was addressing the joint session of the parliament on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the fourth parliamentary year adding this is a great leap forward towards political maturity for which the parliament, political parties, and the nation deserve commendations.
The President proposed that the nation should unite on the agenda of economic stability for continuity in policies in all situations. He hoped political parties and other stakeholders will soon agree upon this national agenda.
He said the government that ensures rule of law, economic development and provision of basic needs to the people easily overcome challenges, succeed in stabilizing democracy and reinforce the relationship between an individual and the state.
The President said he was glad to note that both the government and opposition are cognizant of this and are formulating policies in the light of this philosophy to strengthen democracy.
President Mamnoon Hussain said it is now responsibility of each individual, class and institution to earnestly contribute towards reinforcing this positive trend.
He said the government, be it of any political party, should formulate policies in accordance with the tested principle so that democracy can take roots and the people may lead a prosperous life.
Highlighting economic achievements of the government, the President said tax system and collection has improved, foreign exchange reserves increased, GDP has steadily expanded and this year growth has been 4.7pc. He said budget deficit stands reduced, inflation controlled and the rupee stabilized.
He said these positive indicators will encourage foreign investors and accelerate our economic progress, which will be further boosted by CPEC. He said such a welcome progress on the economic front is possible only through consistent and realistic policies.
The President said more steps should be taken to pass on the benefits of improved economic situation to the common man.
Referring to the welfare steps taken by the Government, the President said at this juncture of our history, we need national consensus and solidarity and its significance is even greater in the context of CPEC.
“There is no weight in the reservations expressed by certain quarters regarding the Corridor,” he said expressing satisfaction that concerted efforts have led to national consensus on the matter and apprehensions if any should be removed through dialogue.
The President said the schedule of the CPEC clearly shows the project is not of benefit to any particular government, political party or group of politicians but purely a national project. It is responsibility of the nation to remove every internal and external obstacle in the way of its implementation.
The President also recounted the measures and projects launched by the government to address the energy crisis including LNG and electricity import and construction of water reservoirs.
He said the dream of national development would materialize only when there is peace and conducive business environment. He expressed satisfaction that efforts to restore law and order in different areas particularly in FATA, Balochistan and Karachi have produced positive results. He was confident that the objectives of Zarb-e-Azb would be achieved by the end of the year, leading to internal peace and security.
He said the nation needs to fully stand by all law enforcement agencies to completely eliminate terrorism and lawlessness. He said a national monument should be built in memory of all those who have sacrificed their lives in the war against terror.
The President urged the government and the opposition to work in tandem to utilize potential of the youth and women.
Addressing the world community, the President said Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on the principle of peace for development and peaceful neighbourhood.
He said the main cause of tension in the region is Kashmir issue, which is an unfinished agenda of the partition of sub-continent. As long as the issue not resolved in accordance with wishes of Kashmiri people and UN resolutions, the problems of the region will remain unresolved. He also urged India to reciprocate Pakistan’s sincere overtures for dialogue.
President Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan believes that peace and stability in Afghanistan is imperative for peace in the region.
He said Pakistan has special relationship with the Islamic world including Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, other countries of Middle East and Central Asia.
He said a defence cooperation agreement has been recently concluded with Russia and under another agreement, Russia is likely to invest two billion dollars for laying Karachi-Lahore gas pipeline.
He particularly referred to Pakistan’s cordial relations with China, USA and the European Union. He noted with satisfaction that the next SAARC summit will be held in Pakistan in November this year.

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