ISLAMABAD – President Mamnoon Hussain addressing joint session of the parliament on Monday said that media was playing its role as a watchdog and there was complete freedom of expression in Pakistan.
However, people of Pakistan feel that the media along with its freedom should also realize its responsibility and boundaries, he told the lawmakers at the beginning of new parliamentary year. He also said that it was matter of satisfaction that minorities were enjoying equal rights in Pakistan.
He said that and the minorities were not facing any discriminatory attitude, as their role in the development and construction was really laudable.
Urging lawmakers to come up to the expectations of the people and work hard, the president called the continuation of democracy essential for prosperity in Pakistan, and said that the parliament played an important role in this regard. He congratulated the lawmakers on the completion of the first parliamentary year.
“Democracy is not the name of tension and opposition for opposition, but it’s the name of tolerance. Parliament’s role for strengthening of democracy is very much important. I’m happy that this parliament has given a new dimension to the democracy,” the president said in wide-ranging address.
On internal issues, President Mamnoon said that realistic and pragmatic policies of the government for development and prosperity have enhanced esteem and respect in the international community. Due to these policies, representatives of international organisations and investors from all over the world were expressing their desire to work with Pakistan and invest here in various sectors.
He highlighted various schemes and projects launched by the government to generate employment for youth. He appreciated government for launching various schemes to help youth and educate them. During the last one year, the government's achievements were extremely impressive, he said. He said the nation fully realizes that cooperation and understanding among state institutions was critically needed today.
He said it was a matter of satisfaction that all state institutions were performing their duties with consummate harmony and devotion. He said that the armed forces were defending and protecting borders proficiently and other defence institutions were working diligently day and night. He said the armed forces were not only protecting boundary but they were also performing important functions for ensuring internal security.
He also paid tribute to the sacrifices given by the people especially FATA who have always been in the fore front in the defence of Pakistan. The president lauded vibrant role of civil society and called upon it to give consideration to the law of the country, traditions, temperament of the society and feelings of the masses while performing of their role. He said that the performance of judiciary does not require any analysis and it was improving its traditions as per new standards.
The president called upon all state institutions to perform their duties according to the law and they may not make political likes and dislikes while performing their duties. Referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to India, he said that Pakistan was a peace loving country and wants friendly and constructive relations with all the neighbouring countries including India.
“We want resolution of Kashmir issue in light of UN resolutions and according to aspirations of people of Kashmir,” he said. He also highlighted Pak-US relationships, saying that Islamabad and Washington have forged their on mutual respect. The president also affirmed that the Pak-Iran gas pipeline would one day be completed. He said Pakistan gives priority to its relations with China and realizes that friendship between two countries has become a live metaphor of exemplary and eternal relationship.
In reality, the whole global community realizes that Pakistan and China were like two bodies and one soul in the real sense. He also said that Pakistan was grateful to the European Union for providing it access to their markets. He urged unity, tolerance and religious harmony among the nation in order to end intolerance, extremism and violence. He said that the government also took a bold initiative and launched dialogue with Taliban to bring peace and hoped this will lead towards its logical end.
President Mamnoon’s first presidential address to the parliament has kick started second parliamentary year of the current National Assembly. The address of the president is constitutional requirement. The session was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Senate’s chairman and his deputy, National Assembly speaker, governors, chief ministers, president and prime minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir, three services chiefs, high-ranking officials, and foreign ambassadors.