ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain’s fourth address to the joint session, marking the beginning of parliament’s fifth year, was marred by opposition parties chanting slogans against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
It was the first time in the current government’s tenure that opposition parties on Thursday disrupted the presidential address by chanting “Go Nawaz Go”.
Members of the joint opposition including PPP, PTI, JI, QWP, Sherpao Group and PML-Q started a protest on the floor of the House soon after the president began his speech and continued it for the next 20 minutes.
The opposition parties later staged a walkout.
In his speech, the president stressed over Pakistan’s resolve to address all disputes with India through dialogue adding that it was regrettable that Islamabad’s sincere efforts had not been reciprocated in the same spirit.
“Instead, the situation has been exacerbated by India by promoting subversive acts of espionage and disruption in the region, which is evident from the arrest and confessional statement of an Indian spy,” he stated.
Hussain further said that the only solution to the Kashmir dispute was holding of a plebiscite as prescribed under the resolutions of the United Nations. “To this end, we will always continue extending political, moral and diplomatic support to our Kashmiri brethren,” he underscored.
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“Pakistan has always stood by Afghanistan in its difficult hour. Provision of substantial assistance and educational scholarships for three thousand Afghan students during the last few years is part of this process,” he added.
Speaking about the country’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the president stated that Pakistan was strictly committed to nuclear non-proliferation.
“Our nuclear assets are absolutely safe. Therefore we believe that Pakistan rightly deserves the NSG membership and I am confident that there will be a positive development in this regard.”
He also stressed on the need to undertake serious efforts at the national level for poverty alleviation.
“During different phases of our history, some short-sighted elements discriminated between various sections of society resulting in the weakening of the relationship between the individual and the state.
When any individual or a section of society starts feeling that they are not being treated equally by the state, then, in despair, they resort to illegitimate means to protect their interests. In such circumstances, it is the leadership which provides a sense of security to the common man through its broad vision and practical steps,” Hussain said.
He stressed that agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy and it was necessary to take continuous steps for the development of the agriculture sector and for the betterment of farmers.
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Hussain also said that tangible steps needed to be taken to include the marginalised classes in the development process. “Steps being taken to bring Balochistan and Fata in the national mainstream are part of the same process,” he added.
The president said that be it political or economic conspiracies, misgivings about the national security or other intricate issues, the root cause of all of these have been the events of the past, wrong decisions and policies adopted for achieving short term objectives.
Energy crisis, he said, severely dented the economy but no serious consideration was paid to it during the past.
Hussain also discussed unparalleled sacrifices that Pakistan rendered in the long battle to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.
“Thousands of our citizens and soldiers have sacrificed their lives during this war. We are proud of our valiant soldiers and citizens. I am confident that operations like the Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad will also soon succeed in achieving its objectives; and the country will become a cradle of peace,” he added.
He also highlighted the importance of the country’s bilateral relations with Russia saying Islamabad accords great importance to its relations with Moscow and is keen to further enhance cooperation between the two countries in all sectors including defence, economy and culture.
Courtesy: Express Tribune