ISLAMABAD : A flag hoisting ceremony was held at President House on Friday morning as a part of the celebrations of the country’s 74th Independence Day. Addressing the ceremony after hoisting national flag, President Dr Arif Alvi said the country faced multiple challenges after it came into existence in 1947 as it rendered thousands of sacrifices in war on terror and eventually overcame the menaces of terrorism and extremism. He said Pakistan generously hosted as many as 3.5 million Afghan refugees, out whom 2.7 million are still residing in the country, in stark contrast to western countries that didn’t even take in one hundred immigrants. “We have overcome the menaces of terrorism and extremism. While other countries avoid hosting refugees, Pakistan generously hosted 3.5 million Afghan refugees for decades, and 2.7 million of them are still living in Pakistan,” the President remared. President Alvi maintained Pakistan responded to Indian belligerence with peace overtures, slamming the neighbouring country for making the lives of its minorities miserable. “Pakistan gave a message of peace in reply to Indian aggression and sacrificed thousands of lives in fight against terrorism,” he said. He expressed solidarity with Kashmiris, who, he said, have been facing the worst human rights violations at the hands of Indian occupation forces, particularly after August 5 move of the occupied region’s annexation. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to Kashmiris in their cause, adding Pakistan will not leave Kashmiris alone. He said Kashmir issue has been taken up at the UN Security Council four times during the last one year, which is a huge success of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The president said Pakistan has also released its political map, reflecting the true aspirations of its people as well as Kashmiris, adding d the new map shows Pakistan’s principled stance on Kashmir issue.
Highlighting the ruling PTI’s performance during two years of its tenure, President Alvi said the government launched an effective campaign against corruption in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the government devised an effective strategy against coronavirus pandemic, including smart lockdown policy, due to which coronavirus has largely been brought under control. Unlike some countries, he added, Prime Minister Khan did not resort to a complete lockdown, realising that it will badly impact daily wagers. He said several countries wanted to replicate Pakistan’s policies on coronavirus pandemic. He expressed gratitude to healthcare professionals for helping turn the tide against the pandemic. “An effective campaign was launched against corruption, which reflected the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan has largely controlled coronavirus pandemic as a result of its effective smart lockdown strategy. “Unlike some other countries, PM Imran Khan did not resort to complete lockdown, realizing that it will badly impact daily wagers. Several countries wanted to replicate Pakistan’s policies vis a vis Coronavirus pandemic. I pay tribute to the prime minister for his vision and laud role of the Ulema and the media as well as services of doctors and paramedics for combating Covid-19,” he said. The president said Pakistan band together nations to fight the menace of extremism. He said the PTI government brought in Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme under which cash handouts were given to 16.9 million deserving people. “The President said under Ehsaas Programme, cash assistant was distributed among 16.9 million needy people during the difficult days of Coronavirus. The health facilities proved more than sufficient during the pandemic. Education was also imparted to students at their homes during the pandemic,” the President said. “The government is also preparing a uniform curriculum, which will further strengthen national unity and upgrade education standard. Pakistan’s economy has also shown positive signs despite Covid-19 negative impacts, and Moody’s has recognized it,” said President Alvi. He said the country’s economy is on the mend despite downturn in world economies brought on by the contagion. On Afghan issue, the President said the peace agreement between Afghanistan and the United States will lead to peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan is the second largest beneficiary of peace in Afghanistan. “The peace agreement between Afghanistan and the United States will lead to peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan is the second largest beneficiary of peace in Afghanistan,” he remarked. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not merely a project between Pakistan and China, but it will contribute to promoting transit trade in Central Asia and also help in establishing peace.” The president specifically spoke about empowering women and giving them their inheritance rights. There are many people who continue to deny women their rights. Women have to be given freedom not because the West says so but because Islam gives them this right, he added. Earlier, the President hoisted national flag at the ceremony. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, federal ministers, parliamentarians, three services chiefs, special assistants and other senior officials were present on the occasion.