ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has termed the opposition’s demand for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation unjustified and expressed the hope that the present assembly and the government will complete their five-year constitutional term.
Talking to journalists during an interactive session with senior journalists regarding issues of the people with disabilities at Aiwan-i-Sadr here on Monday, the president declared that neither the government would resign nor the assemblies would be dissolved.
Dr Alvi, however, stressed the need for holding a national dialogue on the issue of election reforms. He was of the view that the national dialogue would be incomplete without a discussion on the role of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and elimination of corruption from the country should also be a part of the discussion.
In reply to a question, the president said the prime minister would decide the timing and the people with whom the dialogue should be held.
Alvi urges media to play its role to protect rights of special people
When his attention was drawn to the famous sit-in of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during which Imran Khan had held negotiations with the then military leadership, Dr Alvi said the talks with the army were held at the request of the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and these remained confined to constitutional parameters.
Without naming anyone, the president alleged that efforts had been made to destabilise the country’s political system for the past almost two years.
The president’s remarks came a day after the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders during a public meeting at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh once again asked the prime minister to step down by Jan 31, 2021, or face a decisive long march towards Islamabad.
President Alvi said that the political temperatures would cool down in the country in the near future, adding that he was constantly in contact with the prime minister and they both were at present reading some Islamic books.
In reply to a question, the president claimed that there was no international pressure on Pakistan regarding recognition of Israel, adding that the government’s stance was very clear on the issue.
He also refuted reports regarding any secret visit of government representatives to Israel.
Earlier, the president stressed that media should play an important role in protecting the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs) and eliminating negative attitudes from the country and society.
The president said the government had distributed health cards among over 26,000 people with disabilities to facilitate them in access to medical facilities. He said that under the Ehsaas programme, around two million disabled people would be provided financial assistance.
The president said that since there was a lack of data on special persons, the survey being conducted under the Ehsaas programme would be completed by June 2021.
Dr Alvi indirectly endorsed the opposition’s reservations over the census, saying that though the number of special persons mentioned in the census was two per cent, according to a survey, the real number of PWDs in the country was 15 per cent and they lacked appropriate facilities.
He said that with the minimum reported numbers, the special persons have to face difficulties in registration with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), adding that there was a need to make this procedure simple and easy.
He called upon the media to sensitise public about problems being faced by disabled persons and also raise awareness on being considerate towards them.
He said the State Bank of Pakistan had launched special schemes for such persons, which needed projection so that more disabled people could benefit from such initiatives. He said the trader community in Karachi had pledged to give jobs to special persons.
The president said that special persons should also be included in the 50,000 scholarships being provided by the government for higher education.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on the occasion said that a special committee had been formed to remove loopholes in laws relating to the welfare of special people and issue directives to the departments concerned.
Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020