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Friday May 24, 2024

In maiden parliament address, President Zardari stresses dialogue to end polarisation

President addresses joint sitting to mark beginning of parliamentary year after Feb 8 elections

By Web Desk
April 18, 2024
President Asif Ali Zardari is addressing the maiden joint session of parliament on April 18, 2024. — National Assembly of Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari is addressing the maiden joint session of parliament on April 18, 2024. — National Assembly of Pakistan

Stressing the need for meaningful dialogues, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called for political reconciliation to do away with the polarisation and overcome the challenges pervading the crisis-hit country.

He stated this while addressing the maiden joint session of parliament after the February 8 general elections amid protest and sloganeering by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmakers.

“Let me also take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all parliamentarians and provincial assembly members for their trust and confidence in electing me for a second time as the president of Islamic republic of Pakistan,” the president said this in his opening remarks.

President Zardari said their agenda and ideology will strengthen the country and underlined the need for creating a political environment to fulfill the expectations of all stakeholders.

He asked the political leadership of the country to highlight their priorities and stressed the need for ending differences for the country's prosperity.

“While there are many economic reforms the government will drive in spurring jobs, reducing inflation and expanding the tax net, I want to underscore the importance of promoting positive working relationships and effective coordination, within our constitutional framework, between the Federal Government and the Provinces. This is absolutely essential for promoting an inclusive national development agenda and rolling out policies that execute tangible action on the ground.”

President Zardari called for taking positive steps, saying harmony among institutions is the need of the hour to pave wave for the development of the country.

“If we see today as a new beginning, which it is, then we can build on our strengths by investing in our people, by focusing on public needs, and by harnessing our resources to create pathways to inclusive growth.”

He said: “I also feel that we have little time to waste. The country needs us to move on from the polarisation so common now to contemporary politics. This joint House must play a leading role in rebuilding public confidence in the parliamentary process and establish a foundation for the uninterrupted sustainable development of our nation.”

‘Atmosphere of mutual respect’

Addressing the upper house of the parliament, President Zardari stressed the need for parliamentary consensus and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and political reconciliation to do away with the polarisation and overcome the challenges pervading the crisis-hit country.

“In my considered view, it is time to turn a new page… The challenges we face are not impossible to overcome. They just require the fundamentals of meaningful dialogue, and parliamentary consensus… We can effectively tackle our challenges and foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and political reconciliation.”

The president’s address encompassed all of the major national and international matters and challenges from economy, poverty, social welfare, women empowerment and foreign policy to Kashmir and Palestine as well as climate change.

He said having given away his powers to the parliament, his role was as a unifying symbol of a joint, robust federation, where all people and provinces should be treated as equal before the law.

As a new beginning, President Zardari said the country needed to build its strengths by investing in people, focusing on public needs, and harnessing its resources to create pathways to inclusive growth. “We have little time to waste.

Calling for resetting the political atmosphere and reflect “more light than heat”, he emphasised reforms, to promote good governance and turning challenges into opportunities.

'Terrorism rearing its head again'

Stressing the need for joint efforts, President Zardari has warned that terrorism is rearing its head again in the country, hoping that neighbouring countries will take action against militants involved in cross-border attacks.

“Terrorism is a threat for our national security, prosperity and regional peace. Pakistan considers terrorism as a common threat.”

The president said that the terrorist groups involved in attacks on the security forces and people. He hoped that the neighbouring counties would take measures against the terrorist groups involved in launching attacks inside Pakistan.