ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has said Pakistan’s democracy has been strengthened to the extent that it can now withstand various crises.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament here Wednesday at the start of the 4th parliamentary year of the present government, the President said sustainable development is not possible without a stable democracy adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had guided the country to progress. Under the PM’s leadership, the system of tax collection had improved, the budget deficit and inflation brought under control and growth had been sustained, he said.
“One does not need to state how important the Pak-China partnership is for national economic growth,” the president said. “Heads of many countries have personally told me that this partnership would prove to be a golden opportunity for their own economic development.”
President Mamnoon Hussain said that successful completion of three years of democratic journey is testimony to the political maturity of the nation and it reflects that the system is capable to take the country forward on the path of durable progress and stability.
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.
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.
Enumerating the three year’s 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 4.7%. 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, he said these include business opportunities and technical training for youth, comprehensive programme for poverty alleviation, PM’s health insurance, subsidy on essential consumer goods, special package for farmers, educational facilities and stipends for underdeveloped areas and provision of laptops to talented students.
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. He said there is no weight in the reservations expressed by certain quarters regarding the Corridor. He expressed satisfaction that concerted efforts have led to national consensus on the matter and apprehensions if any should be removed through dialogue.
President Mamnoon Hussain 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 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 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 producted positive results. He was confident that the objectives of Zarb-e-Azb would bve achieved by the end of the year, leading to internal peace and security.
He said the nation needs to fully stand by all law enforcing 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 is of the view 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.
The President said Pakistan strongly believes in nuclear security and made state of the art arrangements for safety of its nuclear installations. He expressed the confidence that we would triumphant in our resolve to eliminate corruption.
President Mamnoon Hussain advised countrymen not to be despondent as Pakistan would soon regain its rightful status in the comity of nations.
The joint session was witnessed by Governors of the provinces, Chief Minister GB, members of the diplomatic community, services chiefs and senior officials.