fb
fb

Dr. Arif Alvi President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Address to the “Joint Session of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)” (Islamabad: September 12, 2019)

“Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem” Honorable, Chairman Senate, Honorable, Speaker National Assembly, Respected Members of Parliament…and, My Dear Countrymen, Assalam-o-Alaikum! I congratulate the current Government on completion of its first Parliamentary year. It is my constitutional responsibility to oversee the performance of the Government and the Parliament, and to guide them according to the constitution and law, where it is needed. The presence of public representatives here today is a reflection of public aspirations and from them people have high hopes. We are answerable to Allah Almighty and people and we should always keep this in our minds. May Allah Almighty give us the strength to serve the people of this country, so that we are satisfied in our conscience! My Fellow Countrymen! The Government and people of Pakistan have strongly reacted to the recent Indian actions in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. India, through its illegal and unilateral actions¸ has not only violated the UN resolutions and international laws, but has also harmed the spirit of Simla Agreement. In this regard, the Parliament, in its joint session of 7th August 2019, has consensually condemned the illicit and unilateral actions of India in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the strongest manner. The Government has decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with India, suspend bilateral trade, review bilateral relations, and to take up Kashmir Dispute at UN and other international fora. Ladies and Gentlemen! It is a big diplomatic triumph for Pakistan that the Kashmir dispute has been brought in for discussion in a special session of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after fifty years, especially when India had made all-out efforts to prevent it. Security Council deliberations on Kashmir after decades reflect that Kashmir is not an internal matter of India; rather it is an internationally recognized dispute, for which the international community, especially UNSC, has to play its legitimate role, otherwise this dispute can become a grave danger to the regional and international peace. Additionally, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned the illegal and aggressive actions of India in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and has demanded that all kinds of restrictions in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir be lifted forthwith and this longstanding conflict be resolved through UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Moreover, the UN Human Rights Council, with the support of 58 countries, has issued a joint statement demanding from India to immediately remove all restraints in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Here we also want to thank all those friendly countries, which recognized the severity of Kashmir dispute and played their role in convening the special session of UNSC. In this regard, we thank China most earnestly. Honorable Members of Parliament! I commend the successful visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the United States of America and his drawing the attention of the American President to the longstanding dispute of Kashmir. Pakistan will welcome American initiative towards mediation for the just and sustainable resolution of this dispute. Ladies and Gentlemen! Due to the presence of nine hundred thousand Indian troops in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, it has become the most militarized zone of the world. India is trying to silence the voice of Kashmiris by using brutal force. Today Indian secularism and democracy have been surrendered to the extremism of RSS. India has become hostage in the hands of the Hindu extremists and fascists in the same way that once Germany had become in the hands of Nazis and Nazism. The lives of nine million Kashmiris are in danger. I appeal to the UN to send its observers to Kashmir to ascertain the true conditions prevailing there. The deployment of extra one hundred and eighty thousand Indian troops in Kashmir in the recent months is a matter of grave concern. Usurper Indian armed forces are committing blatant violations of human rights of Kashmiris by such heinous and brutal crimes as slaughter, violence, illegal imprisonments, use of pellet guns, and rape of Kashmiri women. Extremist Indian leadership is bent upon mutilating the demographics of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and is inclined to repeat in Kashmir the same inhumane action of genocide as it was done in Yugoslavia. If the world does not take notice of the Indian genocide in Kashmir, I fear that the world peace will be gravely imperiled. Pakistan wants to make it clear to India that genocide of innocent Kashmiris will not be tolerated. Through the platform of this august Parliament, I want to clarify to the international community that any negligence in this regard will pose a serious threat to international peace. Ladies and Gentlemen! Pakistan endorses the right to self-determination of the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir under the UNSC resolutions and international law. In this regard, the whole Pakistani nation stands by its oppressed Kashmiri brethren and will continue its moral, political and diplomatic support to them until they are given their just right to self-determination. We will never leave them alone. We have always been with them, we are with them, and we will always remain with them. Ladies and Gentlemen! India is continuously violating the ceasefire agreement through its unprovoked firing and bombing of unarmed civilian population across the Line of Control (LOC). Last year, Pakistan informed UNMOGIP of India’s repeated violations of LOC. The irresponsible and aggressive Indian actions have seriously endangered South Asian peace and stability. Even now we warn India to come to its senses and not to cause an irreversible situation. Pakistan has always responded with patience to Indian war hysteria and repeatedly admonished it not to consider our desire for peace as a weakness. When the Pulwama incident transpired, India pinned the blame on Pakistan without any proof. At that time also, Prime Minister of Pakistan offered cooperation in investigations and asked India for proofs, but instead India started provocations on Pakistani border. As a result of that, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), displaying supreme courage, had shot down the invading Indian planes. The pilot of one Indian plane that crashed on our side of the border was taken into custody. The very next day, Prime Minister Imran khan in a joint session of the Parliament announced the release of Indian pilot as a gesture of goodwill, which was globally applauded. Honorable Parliamentarians! India has always been involved in subversive activities and terrorism in Pakistan. One of its examples appeared in the form of the arrest of Commander Kulbushan Yadav, who confessed that he is a serving officer of Indian navy and the purpose of his arrival in Balochistan was to sponsor and fan terrorism in Balochistan. He was imprisoned for these heinous crimes by a military court of Pakistan. Afterwards, India took the case to International Court of Justice that dismissed all Indian appeals for the acquittal, release, and return of Commander Kulbushan Yadav. Ladies and Gentlemen! The world will have to realize that today, a Hindu extremist mindset has taken over India. The world will have to confront these fascist policies. The religious extremism of RSS is fast reshaping the face of the India of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. This change has made the lives of minorities and moderates of India unsafe. We believe that the events transpiring in India have once again proven the veracity of the vision of founding fathers of Pakistan and Two-Nation Theory. Honorable Parliamentarians! The purpose of Pakistan was the establishment of a system based on justice, tolerance, and equality, where every citizen would enjoy liberty. The State of Medina was a practical manifestation of the principles of justice, tolerance, and equality. Moreover, the dream of Allama Iqbal and the struggle of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah were also inspired by the ideal of formation of such a model state. Ladies and Gentlemen! Islam highly values mosque and it is not merely meant as a place for offering prayers, but it has also been used as a centre for the training, betterment, spiritual purification and reformation of the individuals. Masjid-e-Nabvi is its living example. Even today, mosque is the best platform for the reformation of the society. Ulemas should come forward and play their role in fighting the social evils. I have also requested Council of Islamic Ideology to effectively use the pulpit of the mosque to create awareness among people about women’s Right to Inheritance, cleanliness and hygiene, water conservation, environment and tree plantation, and human health. Ladies and Gentlemen! Prime Minister Imran Khan in his inaugural address had presented the vision of shaping Pakistan on the model of State of Medina. In fact, the political, social, economic progress and stability of Pakistan is contingent upon transforming Pakistan into State of Medina. Even behind the migration of Holy Prophet (PBUH), the vision was the introduction and establishment of the same social system. The exemplary governance of Holy Prophet (PBUH) united the internally and externally dispersed Yathrib and transformed it into an Islamic welfare state. Keeping in view the shape of the State of Medina that appeared during the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH), it can be easily said the first state to accord human right was the State of Medina. Honorable Parliamentarians! The incumbent Government from day one has been endeavoring to formulate policies to materialize the projects of progress and welfare of the country and to implement these policies. In the short duration of one year, 52 Cabinet sessions were held, which reflects that the Government is proactive and dedicated to the discharge of its responsibilities. I am pleased that the Prime Minister, taking personal interest, is watchful of the performance of every ministry. On special directions of Prime Minister, Pakistan Citizen Portal has been launched, through which citizens can directly get their complaints sent to the concerned authorities and get them resolved speedily. I would like that this system be made more efficient, so that good governance and the welfare of the people can be ensured. Moreover, Cabinet decisions on austerity measures must also be commended. Ladies and Gentlemen! Information Technology Policy of the Government is noteworthy. The use of Information Technology (IT) will play an important role in bringing more transparency in the Government affairs. Without developing indigenous IT market, we cannot compete with the world. I would like to emphasize that it is essential for our economic stability and growth that we focus on Technology Driven Knowledge Economy, so that Pakistan can compete with the developed nations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We will have to familiarize our youth with the understanding of Computer Languages and modern knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of things, Cloud Computing, and Blockchain. Honorable Parliamentarians! There is no denying the fact that the future of our beloved country depends upon democracy. Only through the stability of the democratic institutions and the strength of federal units democracy can flourish and strengthen. The elections held in erstwhile tribal areas last month are yet another step towards the democratic process in the country. The merger of erstwhile FATA will give it the chance of being mainstreamed into the national development. The Government has dedicated a huge amount of money for the development and construction of erstwhile FATA. This amount is in addition to Successful Youth, construction of low-cost houses, Clean and Green Pakistan, Sehat Insaf card, and Billion Tree Tsumani. This will help raise the standard of life of the people of erstwhile FATA. Ladies and Gentlemen! Economically, the country is passing through a challenging time. The Government inherited Current Account and Budget Deficits and Circular Debt. Domestic and foreign debts have also exceeded limits. The national economy was on the verge of collapse. A large proportion of our revenues is used to service debts and very little revenues are left for development work. It is important to note here that compared to the previous financial year, there has been a considerable reduction in our Current Account Deficit, due to increase in exports and decrease in imports. Additionally, remittances have increased and Foreign Exchange Reserves have also gone up. Pakistan could not meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. I would like to underscore here that it is our national responsibility to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to allow the common man to reap their benefits. I expect from all relevant institutions that they will make concerted efforts to ensure achievement of SDGs. Smuggling destroys the economy of any nation. It also creates hurdles in international relations. The need of the hour is the will to bring all economic activity into Government purview through documentation and to eradicate the bane of smuggling. Corruption remained rampant during the previous eras and unjust decisions were taken. Ignoring accountability, rulers irreparably harmed the national economy. It is for this reason that our economy could not be remodeled on modern principles and a large part of it went into Black Economy, whose effects we are reeling from even today. To deal with these challenges, the Government had to take hard decisions in Budget 2019-2020. Tough actions like tax reforms are important for the economic betterment. FBR has introduced reforms to bring more people into tax net and to increase the percentage of taxpayers, which are essential for economic stability. These measures have increased the number of tax filers and it is a continuous process, which ought to continue. I also want that FBR is further reformed and the tax filing made easier and more comprehensible for the ease of tax filers. Ladies and Gentlemen! There are huge opportunities of investment in Pakistan. The importance and need of investment and trade for the progress and prosperity of the country cannot be ignored. Formulation of easy and pragmatic policies for encouraging investments and promoting trade is an important step. Various countries are willing to invest in Pakistan and various projects are already underway in this regard. It is praiseworthy that Pakistan has gone up several notches on the Ease of Doing Business Index and it is hoped it will continue to improve further. This facility is not meant only for foreign investors but is very important for domestic investors as well. My Fellow Countrymen! Institutions and civil services hold paramount importance in the development of a nation. Since inception, civil bureaucracy of Pakistan, despite challenges, has been rendering unparalleled Public Service Delivery for progress and development of the country. However, the incumbent Government has initiated the process of institutional reforms in order to bring further improvements in civil institutions to make them at par with the international standards. I would like that this important task be completed at the earliest. My beloved People! Corruption is capable of destroying any society by weakening its foundations. Unfortunately, this curse has widely spread in our society. The accountability of those who plundered national wealth and resources continues. Remember, if the society is clean and transparent, we will be able to keep alive our glorious national traditions and to earn a respectful place in the comity of nations. Honorable Parliamentarians! Another problem that deserves our immediate attention is the population explosion, which constrains national resources. I warn the Government to pay instant attention to this and create public awareness about it by utilizing all available resources. In this regard, awareness campaign on media can be very helpful. Public should be sensitized about the adverse effects of population growth, by taking on board the ulema, political and social leaders as well as civil society. In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that due to lack of gap between pregnancies, the mother and the child are falling prey to malnutrition and stunting. I would like to direct the Government to pay special attention to the issues of malnutrition and stunting. Ladies and Gentlemen! Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Keeping in view the importance of this sector, the Government has launched Prime Minister’s Agriculture Emergency Program for enhancing the yield of basic commodities like wheat, rice, and sugar. This Program will help in the promotion of National Oilseed Enhancement Program, protection and optimal use of water reservoirs, fishing, small and medium livestock farming, poultry farming, and olive plantation on commercial scale. In the development of this sector, for provision of agricultural drugs, fertilizers, and other agricultural tools to farmers at reasonable cost, it is important to formulate an effective and comprehensive policy as well as to ensure easy access of commodities to the market. I hope that the Government will also focus on this. Honorable Parliamentarians! It is the basic responsibility of a state to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Protection of life and property and honor and esteem, provision of education and health services, and access to speedy justice are the symbols of good governance. We have to make Pakistan a welfare state, where employment, health of the downtrodden, education, equitable distribution of resources, and justice are available. Provision of easy and speedy justice is a step towards the State of Medina. In this regard, Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, Legal Aid and Justice Authority Bill, Letters of Administration and Succession Certificate Bill, Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission Bill, Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill, and Mutual Legal Assistance Bill, which are at different legislative stages, are crucial legal steps. I would request the Parliament to pass these bills at the earliest, so that swift justice can be dispensed to people. On this occasion, I would also like to commend the efforts of the Judiciary. Last year, our courts swiftly disposed of decades old cases. Moreover, the launching of Model Courts is also an admirable decision, which will help provide swift and cheap justice to the masses. The current Government has launched Ehsaas Program. Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally overseeing this Program. In terms of magnitude, this program will prove to be the largest social protection program. Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division has a broad scope. All the welfare programs of this ministry will prove beneficial for the low-income segments of society and those who are living below poverty line. I direct the incumbent Government to ensure transparency in the process. Ladies and Gentlemen! To empower women according to the vision of Prime Minister, they are being given equal ownership in Ehsaas Program. The present Government is also comprehensively reviewing the programs initiated by the previous governments to further improve them. It is necessary that the Government broaden the scope of the Program to extend its benefits to the indigent segments in the remote areas. We will have to restore women esteem in the society so that they can play their critical role in making their whole family a productive part of the society. I want to emphasize that to give women their due place in society, it is imperative to protect their right to inheritance, which we will have to ensure through requisite legislation and practical steps. Ladies and Gentlemen! No society can progress unless its citizens are healthy. Both physical and mental wellbeing is important. In this regard, the current Government has initiated Sehat Sahulat Program, under which Sehat Insaf Card has been launched. Under this scheme, 15 million people will gain access to health services and numerous public and private hospitals will provide free treatment. The prime Minister’s National Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C is a remarkable endeavor. I hope that this program will be comprehensively spread to all corners of the country so that this fatal disease can be eradicated. The Government deserves commendation for its initiative of Panah Gahs for the homeless. Likewise, the provision of houses on cheap and easy terms is a revolutionary step of this Government. Prime Minster of Pakistan has inaugurated several projects in this regard. I hope that these projects will be completed speedily. Honorable Parliamentarians! No country can progress until it invests in education. Only those countries succeeded n the world that focused on education. Keeping in view the importance of education for national development, the Government has taken all stakeholders on board in the preparation of National Education Policy Framework (NEPF). This is a positive step. NAVTTC and other institutions are being made functional so that the standard of technical and professional training can be improved. Cooperation from Benazir Income Support Program is also obtained for this. I expect that the Government will continue its efforts in this regards. Ladies and Gentlemen! Pakistan is the second largest Asian countries in terms of youth population. More than 60% of our population consists of youth. Undoubtedly, the future of our nation is in their hands. In this regard, various projects are in process under Prime Minister’s Successful Youth Program. It is another auspicious fact that according to Forbes, Pakistan ranked among the top ten fastest growing Software Freelance Markets, with a growth rate of 47% this year. The need of the hour is to prepare our youth for these emerging opportunities so that they can earn gainful employment as well as contribute to national development. Overseas Pakistanis are our asset. The Government has taken considerable steps for their ease and facility. I would like that hurdles in transmission of money through banking channels should be removed immediately so that remittances may be enhanced. Digital Payment and Digital Wallet should be arranged so that everyone can make payments through their mobiles. This will also facilitate documentation. People with Special Abilities are an important part of our society, who are unfortunately impaired either physically or mentally. Such people deserve our special attention and love. It is important to provide them with opportunities and facilities to become part of the society and to move forward in life. I direct the Government to make the best plans for such people so that they can become proactive members of the society. Ladies and Gentlemen! Climate change is one of the most complicated global issues. The global temperature is rising, as a result glaciers are fast melting. This is adversely affecting our country. The increase in air and industrial pollution is adversely affecting the environment of the cities. To grapple with its consequences, the Government has initiated Clean and Green Pakistan Program, under which 10 billion trees will be planted in 5 years. Ladies and Gentlemen! The construction of water reservoirs is the need of the hour. The only solution to this is the construction of new dams. Additionally, we will have to stop the wastage of water. For this, it is important to create public awareness about how to use water more prudently in our daily lives. This needs special attention. Islam also enjoins upon us to moderately use water. There cannot be a better instruction than this that our beloved Prophet (PBUH) forbade the extravagant use of water even for ablutions. Honorable Parliamentarians! Our beloved country is facing energy crisis since the last decade. This Government immediately focused on this sector after assuming power and took various steps at the technical and administrative level to reduce energy losses. Provision of electricity to masses and industry must be ensured. A policy of zero-tolerance has been adopted against electricity theft, over-billing, and departmental corruption. However, people will benefit from these steps only if the rates of electricity are lowered. The Government must also focus on this. Beloved Countrymen! Pakistan is a beautiful country that can attract tourists from across the world. We have huge potential for religious as well as cultural tourism. Surely, if steps are taken for promotion of tourism, national economy can also be improved. Online Electronic Visa Regime has been introduced for 175 countries, which will effectively promote tourism. In this regard, the opening of Kartarpur Corridor is commendable. It will not only provide Sikh Pilgrims easy access to their holy places but also boost our religious tourism. Honorable Parliamentarians! The geographical significance of Pakistan has focused the world’s attention on it. Pakistan is world’s seventh and Muslim world’s first nuclear power. Our nuclear assets are a deterrent to the aggressive designs of our enemies. We are proud that our valiant armed forces have proved their mettle to the world by fighting a long, arduous war against terrorism. The sacrifices rendered by our armed forces for the protection of the country are unmatched. I salute my meritorious and brave armed forces and assure that the whole nation stands with them shoulder to shoulder in the security and defense of the motherland. The establishment of National Internal Security Committee and National Intelligence Committee is auspicious. In past, due to certain bad decisions, we incurred the curse of extremism and our biggest political mistake was to get involved in others’ wars. We have been giving refuge to millions of Afghan brethren. Although, this is an unprecedented example of hospitality and generosity in the world, yet it adversely impacted Pakistani economy. In view of these matters, I would like to highlight that all major decisions should be taken by keeping national interests supreme. Ladies & Gentleman! Pakistan is desirous of friendly relations with all its neighbors and all other countries indiscriminately on the basis of impartiality, equality, mutual trust and shared interests. With the formation of this Government, a new era has begun in the realm of Foreign Relations. Prime Minister Imran Khan has made several important foreign visits. Eminent personalities from various countries also visited Pakistan, which is the manifestation of a vibrant foreign policy. Ladies & Gentleman! It is the success of our narrative that today the world accepts that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We want peace in Afghanistan through Afghan-owned and Afghan-led political dialogue. Pakistan and Afghanistan have historical relations, which are based on neighborhood, brotherhood and friendship. Lasting peace in Afghanistan will open new trade routes for the region and we will always work with sincerity in this regard. Ladies and Gentlemen! Pakistan-China relations are an expression of ideal friendship and mutual trust. Over the time, these relations continue to grow from strength to strength. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not only beneficial to these two countries but its completion will also usher in a bright future for the entire region. It will provide easy access to Central Asian Republics. New sectors have been added in CPEC for the sustainable development of the country. In line with the requirements of the country, apart from Energy and infrastructure, focus of the CPEC projects has also been shifted to industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, third-party participation and Gwadar. The second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China will also open the doors of substantial investment in Pakistan. China lifted 700 million people out of poverty and took concrete measures against corruption. The current Government can take effective measures to eradicate poverty and deprivation from the country by taking advantage of China’s experiences. Respected Members! Bilateral relations between Pakistan and USA are of historical and pivotal importance. During the last few years, these ties have witnessed a downturn due to trust deficit. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent successful visit to Washington has reversed this trend and started a new phase in the relationship. Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are of paramount importance. Saudi Arabia has always fully supported Pakistan through thick and thin. People of Pakistan have strong feelings of devotion and respect for the custodian of Holy Mosques. Relations with Iran are also witnessing an upward trajectory. Prime Minister’s visit to Iran also reflects that Pakistan desires to further enhance bilateral ties with this brotherly neighbor. Excellent relationship between Pakistan and Iran has huge significance for the common interests of the people of both countries. Our special relationship with Turkey spans over decades. We are grateful to this brotherly country that has always stood with us in difficult times. Pakistan also attaches great importance to its relations with Russian Federation. We have been cooperating in various fields of economy, defense and culture, which should further grow with time. Pakistan wants closer economic, trade and investment relations with Europe and European Union. In this regard, recent agreement on Strategic Engagement Plan is a welcome development. Incumbent Government’s policy of promoting closer relations and cooperation with the African countries is of utmost importance. Similarly, enhancement in the cooperation with Far East and Latin American countries is also being made. Pakistan is playing a vibrant and proactive role in UN and other International and regional organizations like ECO and SCO. Our brave soldiers will also continue to play their positive role in UN peacekeeping missions, as always. Ladies and Gentlemen! Media is considered as the fourth pillar of the State. From day one, present Government has been encouraging media to perform its positive and constructive role. Media is free and enjoys full freedom. The current century profoundly depends upon the significance of media. However, I would like to stress that in the current situation, media will have to responsibly play its positive and constructive role, which should be based on truth and national sentiments. The importance of social media cannot be over emphasized. One cannot deny its scope and outreach. I would like that Government should formulate a comprehensive and effective policy regarding social media, so that fake news, disinformation, and misinformation could be countered and real news could be given proper coverage. Likewise, this important medium should be optimally utilized for the promotion of national identity, health, education, progress and development. Respected Members of the Parliament! It is dream of the Government to establish a modern welfare State like Medina and efforts are being made day and night in this regard. But it would not be possible, unless we, as a nation, collectively participate in it. Therefore, it is imperative that every single individual must contribute in the development of the State. If we commit, our country can exemplify State of Medina to the world in accordance with the wishes of Quaid-e-Azam. May Allah Almighty grant us strength to serve our motherland-Pakistan and contribute in its progress and development. May Allah be with us all, Ameen! Pakistan Paindabad!

PREVIOUS NEXT