NANNING: Chairman of Pakistan People Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that use of force alone will not defeat extremism unless it was tempered with political engagement, that dialogue, deterrence, development and democracy is the only roadmap to peace and that and economic development.
Addressing the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), he said that drones, raids and unilateral actions were not the answers, “Dialogue, deterrence, development and democracy is the only roadmap to peace”.
Bilawal headed a five member delegation whose other members included Governor of KPK Barrister Syed Masood Kausar, General Secretary PPP Senator Jahangir Badar, MNA / General Secretary PPP Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and Special Assistant to the Chairman PPP Hashaam Riaz Sheikh.
Defends Pakistan role in War on Terror
Responding to the criticism by some of Pakistan’s role in the war against militancy the PPP Chairman said that no other country understood this war better than Pakistan and no other country had paid such a heavy price as Pakistan.
“My country lies wounded as a victim of terror. We don’t lack the will. We lack the means. We are neither complicit nor are we incompetent. We lack capacity to face the world’s enemies on our own. At a time of global recession and natural disasters, when Pakistan requires sympathy, support and assistance from the west we are met with suspicions, accusations and deionisation”.
Ultimately, it would require the collective will and joint action of all the peace-loving countries of the world to banish these dark forces permanently from our midst, he declared.
Support for flood
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also spoke of the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan and recalled the resilience of the Pakistani nation to address challenges. “Sindh and Baluchistan has yet again been inundated by heavy rains and flooding. Millions have been displaced once again and that placed an enormous burden on our people. However, we are a resilient nation and we will fully recover.”
Calls for establishment of Asian Monetary Fund
The PPP Chairman also called upon Asian countries to set up an Asian Monetary Fund, to help strengthen economic cooperation and take steps to guard against future financial crises like the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Asia needed a new independent financial order to chart its own future course, he said.
The PPP Chairman also called for gearing economic development towards welfare of the people.
While Asia can be proud of the rapid pace of its economic development, it must ensure that the fruits of this growth are shared out equally among its people, he said.
As leaders of political parties in our respective countries, it is our responsibility to ensure that our people remain invested in the political process, he said.
Describing the transformation of Asia’s role at the global level as ‘nothing short of miraculous’ he said that the 21st century has rightly been described as the “Asian Century” adding also, “we may be witnessing the birth of a new world order,”.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also called for peaceful resolution of regional disputes and joint action against transnational crimes. Inviting the attention of the Conference to the ‘Asian Declaration’ urging peaceful resolution of disputes he said there is something prophetic about its appeal to Asian countries. “Certainly, such language speaks to me, and many thousands of Pakistanis like me, who have lost loved ones in the global struggle against terrorism”. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also thanked Chinese government for organizing ICAPP meeting and attributed it to China’s commitment to the cause of peace and stability in Asia and beyond. “It is a reflection of China’s resolve to work with other countries in the pursuit of the larger objectives that affect all of humanity”.
The Conference is being attended by about 150 delegates representing 53 political parties from 26 countries of Asia including Turkey, Japan, Iran, Uzbekistan, South Korea, India, Bangladesh, Laos, Nepal, Srilanka, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The international leaders who attended the special ICAPP conference included Zhou Yongkang, Member of the standing committee of the political bureau of the CPCCC, Jose Ramos Horta, President of Timor Leste, Jose De Venecia Jr, Founding Chairman of ICAPP, Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Chairman Bangladesh Jatiya Party and former President of Bangladesh and Mushahid Hussain Sayed of PML-Q attended the conference.
Following is the text of the speech of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Ladies and gentlemen,
“I am honored to have the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering. It is a privilege to be present among Asia’s leading political leaders - I am conscious that sitting amongst us today are the men and women who will shape the 21st century.”
“For me, personally, it is a special moment for another reason also. Eleven years ago, my late mother, Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, represented the Pakistan People’s Party at the First International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Manila.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,
Everyone is calling the 21st century the “Asian Century”. It is true that the transformation of Asia’s role in the global scheme of things has been nothing short of miraculous. By 2050, Asia is expected to contribute more than half of the world’s economic output, restoring the world’s largest continent to the position of economic dominance it had held 300 years ago.“ “In short, we may be witnessing the birth of a new world order. “ “This would make ICAPP, as a gathering of Asia’s top political leadership, an exceedingly important forum in the 21st century. This in itself is a tribute to the foresight and vision of ICAPP’s founding leaders.”
“In fact, to read the “Asian Declaration” issued at the end of the First ICAPP in Manila is to read a manifesto for today. Here is an 11-year-old document that touches on all the major issues of our times. Its call for Asian countries to strengthen economic cooperation, guard against future financial crises and establish an Asian Monetary Fund resonates more deeply today than they did even in 2000.“
“These words should give us pause as Asia teeters on the brink of a second global recession that is not of its making - barely three years after it weathered the first. They should inspire us to build a new, independent financial order for Asia that would enable us to chart our own course in the future.” “We should also reflect on the First ICAPP’s appeal to Asian governments to do more to address poverty and economic inequalities. While Asia can be proud of the rapid pace of its economic development, it must ensure that the fruits of this growth are shared out equally among its people. Economic development should be for the people, not at the expense of the people. As political parties in our respective countries, it is our responsibility to ensure that our people remain invested in the political process. This is only possible by enforcing the highest standards of transparency and accountability in our government and political institutions.“
“Secondly, I feel there is something prophetic about the Declaration’s appeal to Asian countries to seek the peaceful resolution of regional disputes and act in unison against “transnational crimes”. Force alone will not defeat terrorism and extremism - unless it is force tempered with political engagement and economic development.“
“Key to such economic development is poverty alleviation. We, in Pakistan have initiated the Benazir Income Support Program, which serves the dual purpose of poverty alleviation and women’s emancipation. Over 80 billion rupees have been distributed to 4 million women living in poverty.“
“As you know, Sindh and Baluchistan has yet again been inundated by heavy rains and flooding. Millions have been displaced once again and that placed an enormous burden on our people. However, we are a resilient nation and we will fully recover.”
“Finally, I would like to address what I call the fear factor. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west there is a worrying climate of fear developing amongst our friends in the west. It is worrying that some unable to reach the necessary compromise to address their own internal structural economic flaws instead choose to demonize emerging Asian economic superpowers. Instead of appreciating the financial support provided by China, some within their society spread malicious propaganda design to provoke fear of the other and distract from their own failings.“
“This dangerous shortsightedness could lead to paranoid overreactions with catastrophic consequences. I dread the return to the divided world, a world of competing spheres of influence, a world of cold wards, a world of hot wars, a world of cyber wars and a world of economic wars.“
“Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead is watchword of the wise.”
• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“We want a united world of equals not a divided world of rivals. “ “I stand before the world as a son who has lost his mother to the evils of terrorism. I stand before you as a son willing to risk my life to rid my country, my region and the entire world of the mind-set that assassinated Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. This mind-set poses the greatest threat to the way of life as we know it.”
“My country lies wounded as a victim of terror. We don’t lack the will, we lack the means. We are neither complicit nor are we incompetent, we lack the capacity to face the worlds enemies on our own. At a time of global recession and natural disasters, when Pakistan requires sympathy, support and assistance from the west we are met with suspicious, accusations and demonisation. This too is a product of fear. We know that drones, raids and unilateral actions are not the answers. Dialogue, deterrence, development and democracy is the only road map to peace.” “As Asian political parties we should join hands and reassure our friends in the west, we must make collective efforts to eliminate these unfounded fears. Ultimately, it would require the collective will and joint action of all the peace-loving countries of the world to banish these dark forces permanently from our midst. I believe the International Conference of Asian Political Parties is an ideal platform for the expression of such collective will.”
“Before I conclude, I would like to thank our hosts, the Chinese government, for their generous hospitality and for taking the initiative in organizing this conference. China’s support for multilateral mechanisms like the ICAPP reflects its commitment to the cause of peace and stability in Asia and beyond. It is a reflection of China’s resolve to work with other countries in the pursuit of the larger objectives that affect all of humanity.”
“I am also happy that the Conference has afforded me an opportunity to visit China during the “Pakistan-China Friendship Year”. Our two countries are bound together by fraternal and brotherly ties that have stood the test of time. I am glad to have had the chance to make new friends in China and to experience some more of the richness of its astonishing cultural diversity as ever I am eternally grateful for China’s consistent support for Pakistan. “
“Ladies and gentlemen,
The International Conference of Asian Political Parties was founded 11 years ago with the noblest motives and highest aspirations. It is up to us to see that the dream stays alive. Let us use this opportunity to come together and enunciate our vision for the future. I have no doubt that together we can usher in the Asian Century.”