Monday said that true and real revolution was only possible through evolution of democracy.
Addressing the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the first ever address by any democratically elected President to this assembly, he said: “All we need is a practicing democracy, where there is a tolerance and mutual understanding of each others’ perspectives.”The President said every one had to struggle for creation of an environment where democracy could flourish and no one took extreme position.“Democracy was essential for our survival and it is in the interest of all of us,” he added.
The President in his address thanked the Speaker and the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for inviting him to address the assembly and said that it was a matter of great satisfaction to see that the coalition government under the able leadership of Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti was nearing completion of its five years tenure.He said that it reflected the maturity and wisdom of all the political forces and the parliamentarians for upholding democratic traditions and following its procedures.
“This is a great and noble tradition. This is the spirit of reconciliation. I wish this spirit is displayed always and everywhere,” the President said.President Zardari congratulated the parliamentarians on renaming their province as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.He said that the identity of Pakhtuns was denied to them for so long adding that getting their identity was a great victory for all.
He noted the huge struggle made for this cause and remarked that the sacrifices made have not gone in vain. They have borne fruit and all just struggles must bear fruit, he added.While lauding the struggle of the Pakhtuns for getting their identity, the President said that he was aware that it was not an easy task.
“Generations of your people fought and struggled for identity and they were dubbed as traitors and infidels,” he said. Similarly, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was dubbed as a security risk, he added.e said that he had come to share the joy and celebrations of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for regaining the identity.The President said that personally he always stood for this right and always advocated giving identity to the people.
He said that he addressed the people by their identity even before others admitted.“I named your province as Pahtunkhwa in my address to the United Nations General Assembly”, the President recalled.He said, “It was even before the Constitution had been amended.”The President said that many raised their eyebrows; some even protested but “I am proud of it”.Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the President remarked that gone are the days when patriotism was suspected because of political dissent.
Patriotism is not the monopoly of any one. It is not the monopoly of any individual, nor it can be monopolized by one province or by any single institution, he added.The President said that the people would never permit monopoly of patriotism.He said “We all are patriots. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it. It was a grave wrong to suspect our own people as less than patriotic. It was equally wrong to suspect Shaheed Benazir Bhutto as a security risk”.
The President said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto strengthened national security. It is a shame that some self-styled custodians of security called her ‘security risk’, the spokesperson said.The President in his address also lauded the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their heroic fight against militancy and extremism.He said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were the frontline defenders of the country.Noting their huge sacrifices, the President said that many of them had rendered huge personal sacrifices in this heroic struggle.He said that members of this Assembly had been martyred and countless brave sons and daughters of this province had laid down their lives.
He said that so many of the valiant armed forces and police officers and jawans had embraced martyrdom. Despite offering huge sacrifices, he added, the armed forces, the police and the people had not been deterred.He said that he specially acknowledged the sacrifices of all of them.The President said that he had come to declare yet again that “we will continue our fight against militancy and extremism to the finish and we will not falter, we will not give up”.
He said, “This was the fight for our survival, for our values. Failure or retreat is not an option and we will fight till final victory.”The President said that the greatest threat to Pakistan was from extremism and militancy.Condemning attack on the convoy of former Amir Jammat-i-Islami, the President said “We all have to fight against that mindset that attacked Qazi sahib”.He said that no other threat was as great today as was the threat from extremism. “We will not rest till this threat is eliminated,” he added. The President said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was bestowed with huge resources, including gas and minerals.
However, he said, the greatest issue facing the province was the law and order situation.
He said “We have to join hands against those, who are destroying the peace of the province”.The President said that the militants had not spared even the graves, mosques and churches. They had destroyed holy shrines. They even did not spare the Mazar of Rahman Baba.He said that the church in Mardan was attacked and destroyed by the extremists.”We condemn it. The government will rebuild the church and this is a message to the militants,” he added.
He said that for improving law and order situation, “we need to strengthen the police forces and all other law enforcing authorities so as to effectively control the issues pertaining to law & order”.The President also said that after the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, he took the challenge of carrying forward her mission following the policy of reconciliation and taking along all the political forces on the matters of national interests.
Recounting various achievements of the government, the President said that he voluntarily gave up his powers to the Parliament to strengthen democracy in the country.“We have to strengthen our provinces for strengthening the federation,” the President said.Underscoring the need to further strengthen the democracy and democratic institution, the President, on this occasion also announced that the demand of the Assembly for acquiring additional building would be forwarded to the government for its consideration.
Earlier Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Kiramat Ullah Khan, Leader of the House Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and Leader of the Opposition Akram Khan Durrani in their speeches welcomed the President to the assembly and appreciated his services for the strengthening of democracy and democratic traditions in the country. – APP