Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in his 6th and last annual address to the parliament hints at forgiving former military ruler General (Retd) Musharraf if he sincerely regrets his actions before a “Truth & Reconciliation Commission.”
Zardari has made a record addressing the joint session of the parliament for the sixth time.
Zardari snubs country’s aggressive Supreme Court over Gen Musharraf saying it is for govt and parliament to decide fate of those who committed high treason.
A photo of Benazir Bhutto, slained leader his party, was placed on the right side of the speaker’s desk.
Below are the key points of his address as official organ has noted out:
“President Asif Ali Zardari has said that there is need to take hard decisions without delay to address challenges facing the country.
He was addressing the joint session of the Parliament to mark beginning of the first parliamentary year in Islamabad on Monday afternoon.
The President said we must learn truth about past mistakes in order not to repeat them and this calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He said the country cannot afford confrontation and needs reconciliation to resolve the problems.
The President congratulated once again the new elected Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif‚ the Speaker and the members of the National Assembly and hoped that they will rise to the expectations of the people.
He also congratulated people of Pakistan for their participation in the elections and said they demonstrated courage in defying threats by the enemies of democracy.
The President said there is no place for dictators in today’s Pakistan which has been demonstrated by the smooth transfer of power.
He commended all political parties and their leaders for accepting the poll results despite reservations.
The President said together we have fulfilled our promise of smooth transition of power from one democracy to another democracy. This democratic‚ peaceful transition marks the success of a prolonged struggle.
He said it is a matter of great satisfaction and pride that Parliament purged the Constitution of undemocratic articles. It brought about the first major constitutional reform in more than three decades. In the past‚ amendments in constitution were made to promote the personal interests of dictators but the latest ones are meant to strengthen democracy and empower the people.
He said the outgoing Parliament made the Constitution truly democratic‚ restored provincial rights‚ abolished the Concurrent Legislative List and transferred all subjects to the provinces‚ banished Article 58(2)/B and strengthened Council of Common Interests. Oil‚ gas and natural resources within a province now belong jointly to the province and the Federal Government.
The President pointed out that suspension and abrogation of the Constitution is an act of high treason and no court shall validate it.
He said let us renew our commitment to the principles of democracy and the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.
President Zardari said each pillar of the state must operate within its constitutional limits and no organ of the state should trespass into the domain of others.
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.
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.
He said women and minorities are the most vulnerable groups and efforts to protect and empower them need to be kept up. There is also a need to further strengthen interfaith harmony and prevent misuse of blasphemy law for settling personal and political scores.
The President called for a mechanism to ensure transparent accountability of all.
He 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 called for measures for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis and taking forward the process of devolution to local bodies.
President Zardari said 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.
He said Pakistan looks forward to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He said 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 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.
Later‚ the joint session of the parliament was prorogued.”
Credit for Content and Picture: Radio Pakistan and Matiullah Jan, an investigating journalist from Islamabad.