ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said that democracy was the most effective system and that the future of Pakistan depended on it, DawnNews reported.
Addressing the August 14 flag hoisting ceremony at the Convention Centre Islamabad, Prime Minister Ashraf said that the Pakistan movement was a perfect example of a democratic and constitutional struggle for independence.
“The freedom movement is a best example of democratic and constitutional struggle which proved to nations of the world that democracy is embedded in blood of Muslims,” he said.
He said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had sacrificed their lives for their democratic ideas.
The prime minister said that the democratically-elected government of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had achieved several financial and political targets.
Referring to some of the achievements of the democratic government in the last four years, the prime minister said in these four years the size of the Public Sector Development Programme has expanded from 416 billion rupees to the level of 873 billion rupees and the remittances from foreign countries crossed 13 billion dollars.
“We are proud that in the last four years we made prominent achievements and with the grace and benevolence of Allah today roots of democracy are strong in Pakistan,” he said.
The Prime Minister said it will be not undue to give credit of the success to visionary leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Prime Minister Ashraf said that “although, I come from a humble background and was an ordinary worker of the PPP, my party chose me for the top most public office of the country…I am proud of it and thankful to the party.”
Extending an offer of dialogue to all political parties for reconciliation and hold fair, free and impartial elections, the Prime Minister hoped that the political leaders by realizing national responsibility would cooperate with the government.
The prime minister said for holding an impartial and transparent next general election, “we are taking the opposition into confidence, and for this we have taken a start from the consensus appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.”
He said, “We want an impartial and transparent election, so that transfer of power takes place in a democratic way, which would be a big success for the continuity of democracy in the country.”
He moreover said that the problem in Balochistan was that the province's issues had not been addressed properly by the previous governments. “Balochistan domicile holders can now work in the federal government…we have taken steps to negotiate with the Baloch leadership and we hope that all parties in the province would take part in the next elections,” the premier said.
The prime minister said President Asif Ali Zardari has sought forgiveness from Baloch people and the government initiated Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan to end sense of deprivation of Balochistan and considerably increased financial resources of the province through 7th NFC award.
He said the federal government will bear the financial expenses for 5,000 jobs of Balochi youth for five years instead of three years and one billion rupees have been allocated for the rehabilitation of people who were uprooted from their homes in Dera Bugti.
“Baloch people are patriotic people...but the government would sternly deal with those who with the help of foreign agencies are involved in acts of terrorism,” the prime minister reiterated.
He said that devolution of powers to the provinces through the passage of the 18th Amendment was a significant step taken by the government.
Prime Minister Ashraf said that for the first time in the country's history and under the PPP-led coalition government, elected representatives had been included in the formulation of the country's foreign policy.
He said that the government wanted the resolutions to the issues of Afghanistan and Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations' resolutions.
Speaking on minority rights in the country, the prime minister said that the government had taken various steps to socially and financially facilitate religious minorities.
The prime minister concluded his speech by congratulating the people on the country's 66th Independence Day.