On the eve of Pakistan’s 65th Independence Day, the premier of the nation delivered a message of cooperation, dialogue and reconciliation.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday underlined the need for holding “impartial and transparent elections for the continuity of democracy in the country” and invited political parties for a dialogue over the formation of a caretaker set-up.
“We have extended the offer of dialogue to all political parties and hope that political leaders will realise their national responsibility and cooperate with the government. We believe in useful dialogue with the opposition on all issues of national importance including the formation of a caretaker government so that important national issues are resolved through consensus and the supremacy of democracy is ensured,” the premier stated in his address on the eve of the 65th Independence Day of the country.
Prime Minister Ashraf acknowledged the crucial role of the opposition in democratic dispensation and said the government gives importance to the positive role of opposition parties.
“For holding an impartial and transparent general elections, we are taking the opposition into confidence. And for this we have taken a start with the consensual appointment of the chief election commissioner. We want an impartial and transparent election so that transfer of power takes place in a democratic way,” he said while addressing the August 14 flag-hoisting ceremony at the Convention Centre Islamabad.
The premier also expressed hope that all political parties will participate in the next general elections and will play their due role for the continuity of democracy.
Using the occasion as an opportunity to recapitulate the performance of the incumbent government led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), he said: “It is a matter of great satisfaction that the present democratic government achieved important milestones in political, social and economic progress of the dear country, which propped the national economy.”
While discussing the foreign policy of the country, he said that peoples’ representatives have been made part of the process of shaping the foreign policy for the first time in the country’s history so that the policy is reflective of people’s aspirations.
Regarding terrorism, he said: “Terrorism is a challenge and we are determined to nip this evil in the bud. Pakistan is performing the role of a frontline state in this war against terrorism. We forced the terrorists to retreat by our strong motive and Inshallah we will ensure the return of peace and security in the country by completely eliminating this evil.”
On the security issue of Balochistan, the chief executive lamented reckless policies of previous governments and praised President Asif Ali Zardari for having apologised to the people of Balochistan. “A handful of anti-state elements and conspiracies of external forces have led to an environment of tension which prevails in the province,” he said.
His speech included special mention of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, China and India and relations with them. “Pakistan’s peace and stability is linked with peace and stability in Afghanistan. It is in the common interest of both the countries to resolve the Afghan issue as early as possible and in a peaceful way.”
The prime minister concluded his speech by saying: “The present government wants to promote cordial relations among all the national institutions including the judiciary. We hope that all the institutions will perform their duties within their ambits.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.
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