pakistan
Thursday Oct 06 2022
By
Web Desk

President Alvi stresses need to end polarisation, demands free and fair election

By
Web Desk
President Arif Alvi addresses a joint session of the Parliament to mark the beginning of the last parliamentary year of the current National Assembly on October 6, 2022. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
President Arif Alvi addresses a joint session of the Parliament to mark the beginning of the last parliamentary year of the current National Assembly on October 6, 2022. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

  • "How will Pakistan stabilise, if every election is challenged," President Alvi says.
  • He suggests adoption of EVMs to ensure transparency in electoral process.
  • "Pakistan should pay attention to crop insurance it will help us get international aid," he adds.


ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Thursday reiterated that free and fair elections remain in demand, suggesting the adoption of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

The president was addressing a joint session of the Parliament to mark the beginning of the last parliamentary year of the current National Assembly.

“How will Pakistan stabilise, if every election is challenged,” he questioned, adding that polarisation should be addressed because this is the year of elections.

Amid the country’s growing political instability, President Alvi stressed the need for dialogue and urged to end polarisation.

“Polarisation doesn’t end with stubbornness,” he remarked, insisting on granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. “Overseas Pakistanis have the right to vote and they should be granted this right, as they work hard,” he said.

‘Pakistan should pay attention to crop insurance’

At the outset of his address, President Alvi spoke about the nation’s most pressing issue — the catastrophic floods across provinces, which have claimed over 1,700 lives so far.

“The flood damaged our crops and Pakistan should pay attention to crop insurance, as it will help us get international aid and deal with the challenges,” Alvi said.

He stated: “Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and to improve the sector, it is important that we look at nations which can provide us with technical support in this regard.

“We must learn from a nation like the Netherlands which is 19% smaller than Pakistan but is the second biggest exporter of food in the world."

President Dr Arif Alvi addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament while Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf presiding the session in Parliament House. — PID
President Dr Arif Alvi addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament while Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf presiding the session in Parliament House. — PID

He also lauded the nation for standing up against terrorism and spoke about Pakistan getting out of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list.

Speaking on Pakistan’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the president said: “We had a suitable agreement with the Washington-based lender."

He added that political stability was crucial amid the sky-high inflation.

President extends gratitude to armed forces

Commenting on the efforts put in to evacuate the flood affectees, the president said: “I would like to congratulate Pakistan’s armed forces who helped the flood-hit population despite challenges. I would also like to extend my gratitude to provincial governments, the federal government, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their efforts to help victims”.

The president added that if the support was not extended on a timely basis, it would have caused more human and economic losses.

The president also pointed out the need for building dams given the situation of the recent floods in the country.

Alvi stresses inclusion of out-of-school children

Speaking about the state of education in the country, President Alvi emphasised the inclusion of out-of-school children.

“Members of Parliament must focus on this. I have spoken to ulema (clerics) that mosques should have sessions to provide school education. If you can’t provide education to children, impart some skills,” the president insisted.

He also underlined the significance of online education and to utilise it for instilling knowledge among the younger generation.

“There are good educational institutions that can help with this initiative,” the president remarked, as he stressed building a mechanism for the provision of employment to the masses.

The president also underscored the need for children to be prepared for the future by building their skills in the field of science and technology.

“Several smaller countries are ahead of Pakistan in cyber power, while our policies are weak in this respect,” he said.

‘India playing with fire’

Commenting on the state of Islamophobia in India, the president said that the country was "playing with fire."

“The United Nations, Pakistan, and friendly nations worked [against] Islamophobia,” he said.

(L-R) President Dr Arif Alvi, Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani listening to National Anthem before the president address to the joint session of the Parliament. — PID
(L-R) President Dr Arif Alvi, Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani listening to National Anthem before the president address to the joint session of the Parliament. — PID

Speaking on the menace of corruption, the president said that corruption is within Pakistan and can be controlled.

Pointing at the need for unity reiterated by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, President Alvi insisted that there should be unity among leaders. “Unity is needed to end polarisation,” he maintained.

'Never heard of audio, video leaks in his life'

Commenting on the issue of audio tape leaks, the president said that he had never heard of audio and video leaks in his life.

“Investigation of audio leaks is a good step by the government,” he said.

“Media freedom is crucial for freedom of democracy,” he said, adding that the world is worried due to fake news.

The president said that shutting down social media causes financial damage.

“Wars are now being fought in the cyber world,” he said.

'We always stand with Kashmiris'

The President said that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through UN resolutions. “We always stand with Kashmiris and will always do so,” he said.

He also commented on the state of regional peace and relations with neighbouring countries, saying that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for three decades. We want a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, and it is better that a broad-based government establishes in the country,” he said.

The president added that Pakistan and China relations are exemplary and deep.

“Our friendship with China is real,” he said.

The president reminded the Parliament that Saudi Arabia, whenever needed, has always helped Pakistan and also said that relations with the US and Europe are beneficial for Pakistan.

Celebrating nation's grit

He also lauded the nation for standing up against terrorism and spoke about Pakistan getting out of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list.

“The way we tackled COVID-19 should also be praised. Our neighbours suffered huge damage due to COVID but we didn’t,” the president said.

The president lauded PTI's health card initiative, terming it a “good step”.

“Today, a woman can open an account while sitting at home,” he said, adding that society is safe and a way should be opened for women.

President Dr Arif Alvi addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament. — PID
President Dr Arif Alvi addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament. — PID

Details of the session

President Alvi addressed the session with the hall nearly empty. There were only 15 lawmakers in the audience during the President's speech, which was later reduced to 12. Undeterred by the scanty audience, the president pressed ahead with his address.

Some of the PTI defectors were also present in the hall. Speaker asked the members to take their seats. Balochistan Awami Party lawmakers were in attendance too, while those from the PML-N, PPP, and JUI-F boycotted the President's address without any warning.

On the other hand, PTI's members of the Parliament said they boycotted the session because they did not believe in this assembly. Out of 422, only 14 lawmakers were in the hall during the President's address.

Under clause number 3 of Article 56, the president must address the Parliament after each general election and the first session of the parliamentary year to inform the lawmakers of the "causes of its summons".

This will be the shortest parliamentary year since it would consist of 310 days, given that the NA is not dissolved earlier.

President Alvi was to address the joint session on August 14, but due to the apprehensions of the coalition government, the address was postponed.