Pakistan not to allow its soil to be used by terrorists against any country: President

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday reiterated that Pakistan will never allow a handful of terrorists and extremists to impose their extremist ideological agenda on the people through force and said that we will not let Pakistani soil to be used by the terrorists against any country.He said that blame game will not serve the cause of the war against militancy and emphasized that the international community should also understand and appreciate our determination to fight militancy.The President made these remarks while addressing the fourth national conference of SAFMA (South Asia Free Media Association) titled “Setting a National Agenda on Media, Democracy and Good Governance” here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Sunday night.The President said that Pakistan stands for peace in the region and the world and wanted early resumption of the composite dialogue process with India.
According to the prepared text of the speech, the President said “The democratic civil government went out of the way in our peace overtures towards India. It would have been most helpful if our initiatives had been welcomed and responded to in a positive manner. The Mumbai attack has undermined efforts for peace. Pakistan is cooperating in unearthing and bringing to justice the perpetrators of militant acts”.The President said that “we want to implement Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s vision of a peaceful South Asia through economic integration adding we are for strengthening SAARC and are ready to relax tariff and non-tariff barriers on a reciprocal basis”.The President while appreciating the stand taken by SAFMA and Citizens for Democracy to oppose any undemocratic and unconstitutional change reiterated commitment of the PPP to a progressive, democratic and liberal Polity that empowers the working people and the poor of the ountry.
“Reconciliation is a cornerstone of the policy of the present government. We believe in reconciliation because the issues facing the country are so great and complex that no one party or institution can solve them”. the President said.The President said that “we have seen the negative consequences of politics of confrontation”, adding that the nation can ill afford confrontational politics.The setting up of coalition governments, both at the center and in the provinces, is a measure of our policy of reconciliation, the President said and added that “we therefore welcome when SAFMA also seeks national consensus on major national policy issues”.
The President said that the policy of reconciliation has started yielding political dividends.The President mentioned the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the NFC Award, the Aghazi Huqooqi Balochistan, the holding of free and fair bye-elections in many constituencies and the political ownership to the fight against militancy as some of the dividends of the policy of reconciliation.The President while welcoming SAFMA’s efforts to evolve a national consensus on the major challenges facing the country congratulated SAFMA for holding its 4th National Conference in Islamabad and also welcomed SAFMA proposal to hold 3rd Indo-Pak Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad in the near future.The President said that the government is vigorously working to address the issue of poverty through Benazir Income support Program which is not merely a poverty alleviation program but also a women emancipation and empowerment program.The President while referring to the history’s worst floods said that the watan card has proved to be a very successful instrument to rehabilitate the flood victims as everyone has appreciated it.
The President said, “I should also like to say that our well to do people will also have to come forward and make contributions through one time flood surcharge. We cannot go to the international community and ask for help without showing that we too are doing our best”.The President while commenting on Pakistan’s fight against militancy said that from the very outset we faced the challenge of militancy but we came out in the open against militants and took them head on.  The undeclared policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound was abandoned, the President said.The President said that the PPP led democratic Government fully believes in freedom of the media and wholeheartedly welcomes constructive and positive criticism as it helps fine-tuning the policies of any government.He said that free and fair media is essence of any democratic society and safeguards the sacred principles of democracy for which PPP has offered its blood throughout our history. He said that we have upheld the freedoms of the media and refused to be provoked.
The President noted the points raised by SAFMA’s conference on the need for a National Agenda for strengthening democracy and said that the government and the Party will respond to any constructive suggestion to strengthen economy, improve law and order, enhance security, uphold democratic system, improve governance and an even-handed accountability of all.The President recommended to the government to support SAFMA in creating a South Asian Free Media Endowment Fund through SAARC Development Fund and also recommended to concerned authorities to provide land for South Asian Media Centre in Islamabad.The President asked the Ministry of Information to look into bringing SAFMA’s draft Information Act before the Parliament to strengthen people’s right to know.The conference was attended among others by parliamentarians, delegates, media persons and government officials. The ceremony was followed by dinner – App