ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that there is no place for dictators in today’s Pakistan which has been demonstrated by the smooth transfer of power.
“There is no place for dictators in today’s Pakistan,” said the president in his address to a joint session of Parliament in Islamabad for a record sixth time on Monday. “I salute the people for they have spoken through their vote.”
The President said that it is an honor to be the first elected civilian in the history of Pakistan to oversee the transfer of power in a democratic manner.
“It is a cause for which Shaheed Benazir Bhutto dedicated her life. It is a cause for which I spent 11 and a half years in prison. It is a cause for which Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif suffered imprisonment and exile,” President Zardari said. “Democracy has arrived.”
The President said militancy‚ extremism and terrorism pose great threat to national security. We are ready to make peace with those willing to give up violence but we should also be ready to use force against those who challenge the writ of the state.
He said the Government will not allow the use of our soil for terrorist activities against any other country. “We will also not allow anyone to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.”
The President said we are faced with a huge task but hopefully the new Government will overcome the challenges.
He said peace and reconciliation in Balochistan must receive high priority; the issues of missing persons be addressed on priority and the cycle of poverty must be broken.
“Pakistan seeks a conducive and stable regional environment. Relationship with China remains the cornerstone of our foreign policy and we are eager to further consolidate ties of Central Asian Republics and Turkey,” President Zardari said.
He said Pakistan looks forward to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan wants to improve relations with India‚ through a peaceful settlement of water issues‚ and seeks a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people,” he said. He said we believe in dialogue to resolve issues.
The President said drone attacks are a serious violation of our sovereignty and international law. They are also counterproductive and unacceptable.
He said the democratic forces should join hands to face daunting challenges. There are economic hardships‚ power shortages‚ rising militancy and extremism and we have to find solutions to these problems. Work on Bhasha Dam and Thar Coal needs to be stepped up to produce more electricity.
President Zardari congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and hoped that he would live up to the people’s expectations after being elected as new prime minister.