Home Latest News President Zardari Calls for Unity to Resolve Crises Facing Pakistan

President Zardari Calls for Unity to Resolve Crises Facing Pakistan

Head of state warns ‘time is running out,’ and calls for greater coordination between provinces, center to promote inclusive growth

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy National Assembly of Pakistan

President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday warned that “time is running out” to resolve Pakistan’s political crises and called on all stakeholders to work together to steer the country toward prosperity.

Addressing a joint session of Parliament to mark the start of the new parliamentary year after the Feb. 8 general elections, he said he did not believe the challenges facing Pakistan were insurmountable. “They just require the fundamentals of meaningful dialogue, and parliamentary consensus,” he said. “We can effectively tackle our challenges and foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and political reconciliation,” he said, stressing on the need to end polarization and foster political reconciliation to overcome the challenges facing the country.

“I also feel that we have little time to waste. The country needs us to move on from the polarization so common now to contemporary politics. This joint House must play a leading role in rebuilding public confidence in the parliamentary process and establish a foundation for the uninterrupted sustainable development of our nation,” he said.

However, the messaging of the speech was marred by a protest of Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmakers backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who chanted slogans calling for the freedom of party founder Imran Khan throughout the address.

Hailing the new government, Zardari said its agenda and ideology would strengthen the country and called on the political leadership to highlight their priorities, stressing the need to end differences for national prosperity. “While there are many economic reforms the government will drive in spurring jobs, reducing inflation and expanding the tax net, I want to underscore the importance of promoting positive working relationships and effective coordination, within our constitutional framework, between the federal government and the provinces,” he said. “This is absolutely essential for promoting an inclusive national development agenda and rolling out policies that execute tangible action on the ground,” he said, adding harmony among institutions was necessary to achieve national development.

“If we see today as a new beginning, which it is, then we can build on our strengths by investing in our people, by focusing on public needs, and by harnessing our resources to create pathways to inclusive growth,” he said, as he also discussed the need to address poverty, social welfare, women empowerment and foreign policy and climate change.

As a new beginning, Zardari said, the country needed to build its strengths by investing in people, focusing on public needs, and harnessing its resources to create pathways to inclusive growth. “We have little time to waste,” he warned, emphasizing reforms that promoted good governance and turned challenges into opportunities.

On terrorism, the president hoped neighboring countries would act against militants involved in cross-border attacks. “Terrorism is a threat for our national security, prosperity and regional peace. Pakistan considers terrorism as a common threat,” he said.

Earlier, commencing his speech, the president thanked all parliamentarians for their trust and confidence in electing him as head of state for a second time.

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