Facing criticism at home over his ongoing Europe tour, President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday cautioned against “playing politics over the current floods” and urged the nation to stand united as it had during the 2005 earthquake.
“Pakistan faced its worst floods in the past as well but nations come across such difficult times and face adversity with courage,” he told Pakistani expatriates at an International Convention Centre meeting in Birmingham.
The president appealed to the international community and political parties at home to come together to help thousands of people who have become homeless in floods and are in distress.
With determination and resolve of the people of Pakistan, he said, the present democratic government will succeed in pulling the country out of its present problems and challenges.
Zardari said it was a dream of both Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto to see Pakistan as a progressive and democratic country and the government was working hard to achieve those objectives. Throughout the country’s history, the president said, the path to democracy has been riddled with challenges and the government is taking steps to put democracy on a sound footing.
He said the party was pursuing the policy of reconciliation and mentioned the passage of 18th constitutional amendment, NFC award, autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan package and women’s empowerment bill as some of the steps taken by the government to strengthen democracy.
President Zardari said that without looking at what the polls say, the government took tough decisions. Agreement with IMF, price hike, rising energy prices were difficult for people but the government did not go for popular politics, he said, adding the future generation would not have forgiven them for not waging fight against the terrorist mindset and for not ensuring food security.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2010.