ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari promised on Wednesday that the Pakistan People’s Party would provide all-out support to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for meeting challenges confronting the country.
“For democracy, we will continue supporting the (PML-N) government for the next five years,” President Asif Ali Zardari said in an interaction with media persons at a reception hosted by the Leaders of Opposition in National Assembly and Senate at the Parliament.
About Karachi situation, Zardari voiced ‘no’ to army operation. About development in Fata negotiations, he said the government has always opened doors to dialogue with militants since nine peace parleys had been held. “Negotiations should continue to bring about a change,” he added.
Replying to a question on holding death penalty, he said: “Moratorium on death sentence was across the board. If there may be 30 percent innocent prisoners for death sentence then their execution will be injustice. Trade incentives from the EU were also being offered to Pakistan if Pakistan maintains ban on execution – as it is one of conditionality.”
About his future plans, he said he would meet his party workers, friends and family. “It is my wish to meet old friends. I will stay at different places like Sindh, KPK etc,” he added.
About future political activities, Zardari said he would follow the opinion of his of party members.
Later, President Asif Ali Zardari complimented the Parliamentarians, political forces and the nation for the first democratic transition in the country and termed it a historic occasion.
Speaking at a dinner by opposition parties in the Parliament, the President termed the occasion as historic and said his head bows in gratitude before Allah Almighty. He said: “We took the road of reconciliation to strengthen democracy and journey along this road must continue for the sake of democracy.”
The President said that despite reservations the poll results were accepted for the sake of continuity of democratic process, adding that by accepting the poll results we have given the message of unity among political forces. This message needs to be reinforced, the President added.
He said that everybody knows that non-democratic elements did not want democracy to take roots and the internal differences among political parties were exploited by them to derail democracy.
President Zardari said there was a need to work together for peace in the region as peace and economic development in the region was also critical for democracy. He said the present democratic government and the people wish to see peace and cooperation in the subcontinent. “Indeed, we are committed to it and we need peace and security to focus on the social and economic development.”
The president also expressed his full support to the efforts of the government to bring the peoples of the region closer together and added that bold steps were need of the hour to make South Asia an economic powerhouse. He said such steps apart from improving the quality of life of the people would also strengthen democracy.
The President on the occasion expressed pleasure that the process of trade liberalization has been set in motion.”We believe it will benefit the over one billion people on both sides and also contribute to the peace process.” The President said that a peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue would strengthen democracy in Pakistan and indeed in the region.
The President said that extremism and militancy was a grave threat to our freedom and our very existence. He said the fight against extremism was going to be a long one and on all fronts.
He said over 40,000 of Pakistani citizens and more than 5000 soldiers have lay down their lives in fighting the militants.
He lauded the bold and courageous role of Benazir Bhutto for challenging the extremists and sacrificing her life for this cause. “We are the inheritors of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.”
The government has expressed determination to fight terrorism and militancy and to protect the people from extremists and militants; the President said and added that the militants would not be allowed to use Pakistan’s territory to launch attack outside our borders.
He said terrorists on both sides of the border kill our people and the people of Afghanistan, adding that both the people and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should join hands in eliminating the terrorists and their hideouts.
He said that blame game would be counterproductive to the cause and it would only strengthen the militants. “I am happy to recall that together we have showed tolerance towards dissent, we have raised the bar of tolerance and this bar must not be allowed to be lowered.
He was accompanied with Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Churched Shah and Leader of Opposition in the Senate Aitizaz Hussain. Those who were present on the occasion included among others Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah, Leader of Opposition in the Senate, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raja Zafar ul Haq, Ch. Shujaat Hussain and other members of Parliament.