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Zardari addresses record sixth joint session of Parliament

Published Jun 10, 2013 07:14pm


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Monday’s address was expected to be Zardari’s last address as president as he runs out his five-year presidential term in September. —File Photo
Monday’s address was expected to be Zardari’s last address as president as he runs out his five-year presidential term in September. —File Photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said there is no place for dictators in today's Pakistan, becoming the first Pakistani president to address a joint session of Parliament for the sixth time.

“There is no place for dictators in today's Pakistan,” said the president. “I wish to salute the people for their courage. They have spoken through their vote. Their voice has been heard.”

“It is an honor to be the first elected civilian in the history of Pakistan to oversee the transfer of power in a democratic manner,” he said. “It is a cause for which Shaheed Benazir Bhutto dedicated her life. It is a cause for which I spent 11 and a half years in prison. It is a cause for which Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif suffered imprisonment and exile.”

“Democracy has arrived,” he said.

Monday’s address was expected to be Zardari’s last address as president as he runs out his five-year presidential term in September.

Zardari congratulated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and hoped that he would live up to the people's expectations after being elected as new prime minister.

He also thanked and congratulated the people of Pakistan for participating in the elections, and for demonstrating courage in defying terrorist threats.

“Their participation shows that the ethos of our people is democratic.”

Speaking further about Pakistan’s troubled history with democracy and dictatorship, Zardari said the smooth transition of power from one democracy to another democracy was “a triumph of all political parties and democratic forces.”

“Collectively our people have written a new chapter in our History. Collectively the people of Pakistan deserve to be commended.”

He commended the outgoing parliament for bringing constitutional amendments, such as the 18th amendment granting provincial rights, and taking away the sweeping powers of the president under Article 58 (2)(b).

“Previously there were piecemeal constitutional amendments…designed to promote the personal interests of dictators.”

“It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride that Parliament purged the Constitution of undemocratic Articles,” he said. “The outgoing Parliament made a lasting contribution. It made the Constitution truly democratic.”

Zardari spoke about the ills of dictatorship at length and even hinted at an ‘appropriate policy’ of trying in court former Army generals who had abrogated the Constitution to lead military dictatorships.

“There have been calls to punish those who subverted the Constitution. It is for this august Parliament and the government to devise an appropriate and wise policy. I assure you of my support in this,” he told Parliament.

“Each pillar of the state must operate within its constitutional limits. Let no organ of the state trespass into the domain of others.”

In his address, the president also spoke about insurgency-hit Balochistan province and the issue of ‘missing persons’.

“Peace and reconciliation in Balochistan must receive high priority. We need to address the issue of missing persons. A Commission on Missing Persons has already been set up. It has also made some progress,” he said. “But a lot more needs to be done.”

He emphasised out that militancy, extremism, and terrorism pose the greatest threat to Pakistan’s national security. At the same time, Zardari also spoke about US drone attacks on Pakistani soil, and violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“We need strong leadership to overcome the threat. We are ready to make peace with those willing to give up violence. But we should also be ready to use force against those who challenge the writ of the state,” he said.

“The government will not allow the use of our soil, for terrorist activities against any other country.

“Drone attacks are a serious violation of sovereignty and international law. They are also counterproductive and are not acceptable.

“We need to take some hard decisions and without delay. Delaying decisions do not avoid problems.”


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Comments (32) Closed

malick Jun 10, 2013 05:45pm

Zardari a great mofahmi man of the world. Live long, quit presidency and come back once again.

Amjad Wyne Jun 10, 2013 06:03pm

It is time to stop harping on, "no room for dictators" and start delivering to the nation. Enough song and dance. People care about security, law and order, food, electricity and opportunity and for politicians and democracy to take hold, they must deliver on those basic needs.

Khalid Jun 10, 2013 06:02pm

Good bye Mr. President....

fazalpai Jun 10, 2013 06:13pm

really a record of many worst matters for pakistan

Riaz Ahmad Jun 10, 2013 06:30pm

There is no place for dictators in Pakistan; instead it is, and will so remain, with complete impunity, a paradise for looting by the politicians, corruption will be preserved at all cost, as the most valued national sport, denial of justice to ordinary citizens will be maintained robustly, and the country will remain an open prison for the female sect.

Altaf Jun 10, 2013 06:39pm

Despite all criticism, malice and bias, the man would live in the living history of the country. You, your children, and the children of your children would remember him as the first president to witness a first ever civilian transition from one government to another government. Like it or not, the man has made history!

Khalid M Jun 10, 2013 06:37pm

Zardari said:

Gul Khan Momand Jun 10, 2013 07:00pm

Waiting for the day when the President of Pakistan will address saying there is no room for a corrupt politician in Pakistan.

Ahmad Jun 10, 2013 07:30pm

A reminder: Mr. Zardari was in jail for the crimes he committed and not for democracy.

Agha Ata Jun 10, 2013 07:35pm

@Gul Khan Momand: Of course, he can say that the day before he leaves the president house. And later on, he can change it too. And why not?

SID Jun 10, 2013 07:39pm

@Gul Khan Momand: No I guess he doesn't like to praise himself!!!

Zobia Khan Jun 10, 2013 07:51pm

@Khalid M: Wrong! None of those cases were proven in a court of law. A person is innocent until proven guilty. Or are you used to making accusations without any witnesses or evidence.

Most of us just use the term corruption without understanding anything behind it. Corrupt politicians, corrupt women who dare to step out of their homes, corrupt police etc. I can tell you about a corrupt police officer.. he gave his life fighting Righteous, Pious, Bearded, ankle-above-the-knee Taliban in Peshawar.

What have you done for the country? We have created these quasi standards based on spurious understanding of law and religious law. An accused is innocent if the charges are unproven. That is the gold standard. So quit your complains, your the type of people who can never accept any type of progress.

This is a special day for Pakistan. Enjoy it.

Zobia Khan Jun 10, 2013 07:50pm

@Gul Khan Momand: Define a corrupt politician? One who is accused or one who is convicted?

Zobia Khan Jun 10, 2013 07:52pm

@Altaf: He wrote himself into history when he freed the judiciary to work as expected. The press is free, the judiciary is free, the people have elected and changed the government. Has this happend before?

id Jun 10, 2013 09:14pm

@Altaf: that is true..

sAk Jun 10, 2013 10:11pm

Its so sad that there are still people like Zobia Khan who are willing to step forward & defend the corrupt 'leaders' of this country. You want proof? Check the footage from 1990s when after the BB's removal, there were news footages of Zardari's stables made from govt. money, stables with ACs in them, road built for these corrupt PPP family.

Has anyone ever met justice in this country? Even Shahzeb's murderer is making a V sign inspite of the death sentence.

The only excuse I can think of is that Zobia & her likes are fed the same money these corrupt people stole. These people along with their leader have been relegated to darkest pits of history, they will be remembered for pushing Pakistan into the darkest of times.

Sadly, their lives are nothing but a waste of universal energy, so much potential, so much brilliance yet all of it corrupt, negative & wasted.

Arif Muqri Jun 10, 2013 10:44pm

@muqri good and impressive speach. It shows Mr. Zardari Political maturity and love of country.

Arif Muqri Jun 10, 2013 10:51pm

@muqri: when Allah shower his blessing, we don;t know why? we should not be jealous, it means we are not happy with Allah decision..

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jun 10, 2013 10:59pm

@Amjad Wyne: I agree. Let the new elected government achieve something concrete during their mandate period.

Naila Jun 10, 2013 11:49pm

@Altaf: While this event may tickle the historians, it did steal bread from a poor man's table .. not much for me to feel proud of.

N. Sharif Jun 11, 2013 12:21am

@Ahmad: Wrong - he was accused by a dictator who broke the law and abrogated the constitution, who should be hanged from Minar-i-Pakistan. Zardari was never convicted by any judge.

p.mohamed faheem Jun 11, 2013 12:57am

PAKISTAN IS TOO VOLATILE A COUNTRY TO BE RULED FOR 5 YEARS reduce the term to 4 years this can help cool down the politcal temperature and improve stability and foreign investor confidence

Mohammad Qadir Jun 11, 2013 01:15am

No fan of Zardari but you have to give him the recognition for what he has clearly achieved. Today he went down into the history books. He triumphed where all others before him failed. Kudos Mr. President

fowez Jun 11, 2013 02:11am

"There is no place for thieves in today's Pakistan either." -- PTI

sar Jun 11, 2013 02:11am

Zardari is a very smart and shrewd politicians and can get things done. Too bad his abilities get misdirected due to his lust for money and desire to back to support his friends at any cost. Corruption by Zardari is so obvious and well known that I don't think any proof is needed. Just look at the estimates of his net wealth. He can't even use his family businesses as an cover for his corruption like the Sharif's do. Hardly anyone ever gets convicted of corruption in Pakistan (and to some extent even in India). We should be the most honest country in the world if we use court conviction as the criteria and not at at 7th most corrupt country out of 96 on Transparency International list. And mind you: the corruption is on the rise.

fowez Jun 11, 2013 02:17am

Julie C Jun 11, 2013 02:51am

@Zobia Khan: Zardari was convicted, sentenced and fined in 2003 by a Swiss court for money laundering.

Najma Jun 11, 2013 05:40am

@Zobia Khan: Are we praising the same politician as being the pinnacle of democracy who only 4 years ago announced a 10 year jail term punishment for anyone mocking him ? Hail Democracy.

Hasan Hasni Jun 11, 2013 05:40am

Please intiate proceedings for the following:

Malik Ghulam Muhammad dismissed Khawaja Nazimuddin and associated judiciary who validated the decision

Iskander Mirzav dismissed elected prime minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and suspended constitution on 7 October 1958.

Interestingly Ayub Khan did not dismiss any elected Prime Minister and he was appointed chief Martial Law administrator by Iskandar Mirza. Require ruling from the judiciary.

Bhutto imposed emergency in December 1971 and he was the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator and suspended the constitution.

General Zia Ul Haq suspended the constitution and associated judiciary who validated the decision.

General Parvaiz Musharaf suspended the constitution and associated judiciary who validated the decision

ABDUL KHAN Jun 11, 2013 06:04am

I salute President for at least completing the term. He did his job from one government to another. WELL DONE !!!!!! SALUTE!!!

Sarfraz A Mirza Jun 11, 2013 06:38am

Yes President Zardari has made the history.The most unlikely man to do so.It is always the most unlikely ones who do the most un expected. As far his years in prison.In the absence of any proof gathered by the ones who put him in prison so long should be ashamed of themselves.Why did they ever came out with the proof that he was corrupt.No proof no crime.His years in prison were a great injustice to him.

BIMAL CHANDRA JHA Jun 11, 2013 07:19am

Sir, President Zardari deserves congratulations for his balanced speech. In fact, the peaceful transfer of power in democratic way through elections is the victory of the people of Pakistan. I salute them for their courage in upholding democratic values. At the same time I am sure, there will be elements in Pakistan who will espouse their cause through emotional politics using religion as the most effective weapon. The government under Nawaz Sharif should be cautious of these types of elements. Yours faithfully; BIMAL CHANDRA JHA Samanpura Road, Patna, India