ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari in his maiden address to the joint session of the parliament announced to constitute a committee to review the powers given to president by Article 58-2-b and 17th amendment of the constitution. He said that the day of bypassing the parliament over decisions on the crucial national issues has been over.
Supremacy of Parliament
The President said “we are committed to the supremacy of the parliament and the rule of the law.’ Talking on his vision of the country Zardari said it is my dream to free the country from shackles of poverty and hunger. Asif Ali Zardari Saturday ruled out vengeance to dictate his decision in national issues. He also mentioned that 1973 constitution as the national consensus document, adding he said the government respects independent judiciary.
The president urged the government to take steps to resolve the lingering power crisis. He termed the people’s mandate an honour and a great responsibility. He said the dictators introduced several amendments in the constitution to prolong their autocratic rule. The people of Pakistan have great hopes and expectations with the parliament.
Vow to fight terrorism
He said he would not allow the soil of country to be used for terrorism, adding national solidarity and sovereignty would not allow to be jeopardized. The President also spoke of the government’s three-pronged strategy to meet the challenge posed by the extremist and terrorist elements in the Tribal Areas and the adjoining regions.
He said the strategy comprises: firstly to make peace with those who are willing to keep the peace and renounce violence; secondly to invest in the development and social uplift of the local people. Referring to the past excesses against Baloch people, the President said tendering an apology to the people of Baluchistan was a long overdue step. The release from captivity of former Chief Minister Balochistan is also a positive move, he said adding the resolution recently, of a longstanding dispute and payment of billions of rupees to Balochistan is a step in the right direction.
Pakistan India Relations-Concerns over Kashmir
Zardari said Kashmir issue is a great stumbling block in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and India. Pakistan has decided to resume the composite-dialogue process with India, driving its relations through enhanced trade, he added. He expressed complete commitment to the Kashmiri people in their just struggle for their fundamental rights. “We will continue to seek the settlement of all outstanding disputes, including the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir so that the main hurdle in the way towards peace and full normalization of relations between Pakistan and India is removed.”
President Zardari said as a new initiative a cross-LoC trade as a pioneering CBM in Kashmir will be started. He also proposed a more liberal visa regime to further expand people-to-people contacts and friendly exchanges, and establish new facilities for the visiting Sikh and Hindu pilgrims.
Economy of Pakistan
Pakistan is facing energy problems and economic troubles, adding he said the problems in this connection would be over by the end of the next year. Zardari termed the removal of subsidies on petrol as a bitter pill and said it was inevitable for the country, adding no government wants to take back the subsidies; however, the present government has done this to strengthen the economy. He said Agriculture should be put on top priority level, adding this is the first time that government is initiating crop insurance.
He urged the government to empower women and ensure steps in this connection.
He said the focal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy should be peace in the region.
He vowed for impartial accountability. We have a plan and agenda for our every dream for future, he added. Zardari ended his address by saying ‘Pakistan Khappay, Pakistan Khappay’ (Pakistan is needed).
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Chief Nawaz Sharif, the ambassadors of China, Italy and US including other foreign diplomats, governors and chief ministers of all the provinces, Chief Justice of Pakistan and chiefs of all the armed forces were present on the occasion.
As President Zardari came to the house, national anthem was played followed by the recitation of a portion of the holy Quran.
Reaction over Zaradari Address
ANP welcomes President’s address
The President of Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan has welcomed the address of President Asif Ali Zardari. Talking to reporters outside Parliament House, ANP President said that it was good to note that President Zardari talked about provincial autonomy and renaming the name of NWFP as “Pukhtoonkhwa”. He, however, said that financial autonomy was equally important as provincial autonomy.
Ch. Nisar not satisfy President’s address
Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that President Asif Ali Zardari’s speech has fallen far below the expectations and that he did not focus on real issues of the country.
Earlier, during his speech to joint session of parliament, President Asif Ali Zardari announced to set up a special committee to review the 58-2(B) and 17th Amendment. He told all Parliamentarians that a committee comprising members of all parties would be formed to review the 58-2(B) and 17th Amendment.
Zardari address to promote positive politics: Kaira
Qamar Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Information Technology has said that it is a good omen that President Asif Ali Zardari addressed the joint sitting of the Parliament within few days after his assumption of presidency.
Nawaz Sharif demands sovereign parliament, independent judiciary
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quid Nawaz Sharif has Nawaz Sharif welcomed the speech and expressed the hope that called for sovereign parliament, strengthening of democratic institution and independent judiciary. He hoped that PPP government would implement the announcements made by the President in his speech. “We are hopeful that the government will ensure the sovereignty of Pakistan and will not take dictation from any country,” he said.
Zardari constitutional President of country: Hashmi
Senior Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League (N) Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said that PPP will formulate its polices keeping in view the feelings of the people, adding that he said Asif Ali Zardari is constitutional President of the country. He vowed to unconditional support to PPP by PML-N will not play any role to destabilize the PPP-led government rather PML-N will support positive steps of the PPP government and will stand for strengthening of democracy, respect for country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,
Zardari to lead Pakistan towards stable democracy: Farahnaz
Pakistan People’s Party spokesperson Farahnaz Ispahani said President Asif Ali Zardari will lead Pakistan decisively forward in its transition to a stable democracy. “Asif Ali Zardari has picked up the mantle of his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto, and kept the party and the nation together after her brutal murder.
“Mr. Zardari suffered 11 years in prison on politically motivated charges without having been convicted. He went on to lead his party to victory in democratic elections and then skillfully helped to craft a viable democratic coalition. As president he will lead our nation decisively forward in its transition to a stable democracy.”-SANA