ISLAMABAD    -   National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf yesterday inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the first Constituent Assembly here at the National Assembly Hall.

In his inaugural address on the occasion, the Speaker said that parliamentarians are the precious asset of Pakistan’s democratic and constitutional struggle and the nation is proud of them. He said that efforts and sacrifices of parliamentarians have protected the right of expression and sanctity of speech in the beloved country.

Former and present parliamentarians, renowned politicians, leaders of political parties and women parliamentarians attended the convention.

The former parliamentarians paid glowing tributes to the struggle waged by founding father Quaid-e-Azam for the creation of Pakistan.  They were also appreciative of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who gave the 1973 Constitution to the country.

Describing the parliament as the mother of all institutions, the former parliamentarians said the elected representatives should speak for the rights of poor people.

NA speaker said that parliament is the only source of all powers and authority in the country.   He said that authority and law originate from this house.  He also said that institutions are created by this house and it has the final authority in state matters.  He said that this house has witnessed the faces of the authors of the unanimous Constitution of 1973.

This Constitution is the chain of integrity, unity and development of the federation of Pakistan, and   the great scholars of their time   Maulana Mufti Mehmood,   Abdul Wali Khan,   Noor ul Amin,   Sher Baz Mazari,   Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani,   Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan,   Professor Ghafoor Ahmed, Dr  Abdul Hai Baloch, Sardar Shaukat Hayat; and leaders outside the assembly including the leaders of democracy, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan,   Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo and   Abdul Samad Achakzai had accorded their full support and patronage for framing of this Constitution, he added.

NA speaker said that this Constitution is now a sacred trust with us and we have to be the voice and practical guarantors of the rights of the people, the nobles, the labourers, the farmers, the traders, the minorities, and the defenders.  He said that we should no longer be limited to legislation, but should exercise the right to public representation by effectively using our primary parliamentary oversight function.

He said that thirty-five years ago today, the renowned artist of the country,   Saeed Akhtar, was entrusted with the task of creating a portrait of the Quaid-e-Azam for the first directly elected legislative house.  He said that in the shadow of   Saeed Akhtar’s artwork, the first directly elected Assembly not only took oath but also made the constitution; former prime minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and   Muhammad Khan Junejo also took oath under the same picture in 1977 and 1985 assemblies respectively.    He said that Saeed Akhtar was especially invited to the convention today to acknowledge his services.