President Mamnoon Hussain underscored the need for dedication and unity for the success of multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project particularly in the backdrop of the Indian threat that terrorism would be used against the country as a weapon.
The CPEC can change the fate of the region and “we will have to work hard for its success,” he said in his second address to the joint session of parliament on Thursday while appreciating the political leadership for amicably addressing concerns and forging consensus over the project.
However, there was a word of advice for the entire nation as the president gave a veiled reference to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent statement, saying, “After the threat of using terrorism against Pakistan as a weapon, it has become mandatory for us to be on the same page and there is no room for any division.”
President Mamnoon urged the political leadership to remain vigilant against those who have threatened to stoke terrorism in order to sabotage the economic corridor.
The address marked the advent of the 3rd parliamentary year of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. The joint sitting was attended by services chiefs, chief ministers, governors and parliamentary leaders of all political parties expect Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.
In his almost 35-minute address, the president highlighted achievements of the government during the last two years that include economic revival, steps taken to address energy crisis, launching of the CPEC, foreign relations, laptop scheme and other mega projects for speedy socio-economic uplift of the people and the country.
The joint sitting witnessed a token walkout by Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmakers against the ongoing operation in Karachi. However, the legislators returned to the house after negotiating with State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab.
In yet another indirect reference, this time about the PTI, the president expressed satisfaction that the solution to all issues was found in light of the Constitution after long negotiations. “I felicitate all the parties and I am sure that we would succeed to bring [electoral] reforms which would further strengthen democratic system.”
War against terrorism
President Mamnoon appreciated the national consensus against terrorism – the biggest challenge and approval of National Action Plan (NAP) in the wake of the December 16 terrorist attack on Army Public School Peshawar.
He said the nation and its institution launched a decisive operation, Zarb-e-Azb, against terrorists, adding that it would continue till elimination of last terrorist from across the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015.
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