President Alvi lauds PM Khan’s stance on Israel in address to joint parliament

By: News Desk
Published: 06:35 PM, 20 Aug, 2020
President Alvi lauds PM Khan’s stance on Israel in address to joint parliament
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President Arif Alvi Thursday praised Prime Minister Imran Khan's stance on Israel while recounting performance of the PTI government over the past two years.

He lauded the premier for his strong remarks on Israel, in which he stated that Pakistan would not recognise it as a state until Palestine is freed. "Such bold statements give strength to others."

President Alvi addressed a joint session of parliament Thursday to mark the advent of the new parliamentary year amid oppositions’ hue and cry. 

Members of the opposition shouted slogans and voiced their protest as National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser invited the president to speak. Shortly after, some members of the opposition staged a walkout and held a press conference outside Parliament House.

PM Imran, who met National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser shortly before the session started, was also present in the House as were Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Raza Rabbani, Mushahidullah Khan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Maulana Asad Mehmood, and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Top Opposition leaders Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, however, were not present nor was BNP-M leader Akhtar Mengal due to having contracted the coronavirus.

In his speech, Alvi congratulated the House for completing two years, saying he was honoured to be speaking there for the third time. He also lauded the PTI government for its performance, saying he would present its wins to the House.

"Pakistan is at that point where it should be reviewed what has been done so far, what should have been done, and what should be done in the future," he said.

He congratulated the people of the country for fighting terrorism. 

"We all collectively fought terrorism. Pakistan is the only nation that fought terrorism," he added, congratulating the politicians and armed forces for the "win" for the country. 

"We also provided home to the 3.5 million Afghan refugees, we welcomed them with open hearts, and no politician or government spoke ill of them," he added.

The president highlighted how "100 refugees were stranded in the Mediterranean" after "global powers that lectured us on refugees refused to let them in".

"Pakistan set up an example, Pakistan told the world how it lectured us but showed how we welcomed the (Afghan) refugees," he added.

Other countries preach about human rights but don't let even 10 migrants enter their countries, he said, adding that Pakistan had shown its open-heartedness.

Alvi also lauded Pakistan’s battle against extremism. "The importance of this one is even more considering what's going on in our east-side neighbouring country, where extremism is rising," he explained.

He underlined how when the incumbent government came into power, there was "a huge burden of debts, corruption was rife, and the economy was on a downtrend". 

"The first year, I, too, was worried; people advised me to sign a deal with the IMF [International Monetary Fund] or ask for assistance from friendly nations. But whatever we decided has led to positive effects on our economy," he added.

The president lamented how the situation at present was such that "good news is not promoted".

"Our nation is young. Instead of giving it strength, there's more talk in the media and elsewhere of what it didn't do. (This leads to) depression being created that a nation that should be growing ends up losing motivation. This is a major injustice and I challenge you here that this is the time when you tell the nation to rise up and stand up, instead of telling it that it won't be able to do so."

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, the president said that initially there was a lot of fear-mongering that the "people will die in the streets".

"Across the Muslim world, Taraweeh prayers and daily prayers at mosques were banned [for fear of the virus spreading]. But we worked with our religious scholars and continued with prayers at mosques. When there is a will to take care of the vulnerable segment of society, there is success."

Alvi added that now the world was recognising the government's response to the pandemic. "Today, the world is giving our example. I don't remember the last time I heard something like that."

He also touched upon the government's Ehsaas programme, introduced to provide those most affected by the fallout from the virus with cash stipends. "I commend the premier and the government for standing by their stance [on the country's Covid-19 response] despite criticism from the opposition."

The president said that Pakistan's current account deficit had reduced despite the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy. "Our ratings by Moody's and Fitch have improved, showing us that they think the country's situation looks good."

It shows that the government's policies are working, and if the coronavirus had not emerged, it would have managed to take it to new heights, he said.

Commenting on occupied Kashmir, the president said that it was only due to the premier's efforts that the matter was taken up by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) thrice during the past year. "This is your victory."

The president also congratulated the parliament for helping the government to pass bills aimed at removing the country from the Financial Action Task Force's grey list. "Last year there was a lot of noise, but the parliament passed the FATF bills. That is what a parliament is supposed to do. I keep getting asked if we are all on the same page and I say that all institutions have the same goals. The government, Pakistan Army, the judiciary, and the media are on the same page. We want easy and quick justice for the people and zero compromise on corruption. We also want to overcome all hindrances in the way of the country's development."

He concluded his speech by addressing the country's youth. "We want to urge the youth to work hard and hold onto the lessons taught by our culture. Pakistan is at a tipping point. Whether anyone sees it or not, you should be able to see that."

Categories : Pakistan, National