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President Alvi terms corruption, group interests major problems

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): In his maiden address to a joint session of the Parliament on Monday, President Dr Arif Alvi termed corruption and group interests as some of the major problems faced by Pakistan.

The president hoped that the upcoming days would be better for Pakistan. “I am grateful to have the biggest constitutional designation. I will perform to the best of my abilities. I pray to Allah for strength and hope fellow parliamentarians will support me.”

Commenting on the continuation of parliamentary democracy, Alvi said, “Pakistan’s parliamentary system has been a victim of instability due to various reasons. However, the fact that the past three governments have been able to complete their terms is encouraging.”

Corruption

The president stressed that the main cause of issues in Pakistan was extreme corruption and group interests. “Elections proved that people are fed up with dishonesty and want a clean society.”

President Alvi said a free and fair system was necessary for overcoming corruption along with strengthening institutions of accountability so they can perform their duties without fear.

He added that the government had shown the desire to make Naya Pakistan and had won the election on this slogan. “In my opinion, the biggest part of Naya Pakistan should be adopting simplicity, elimination of unnecessary protocol and a system free from corruption.”

President Alvi further said that instead of spending on development projects, Pakistan had to take loans to pay off its debt. “According to the law, the loan to GDP ratio should not be more that 60 per cent. However, for the past several years, we have been breaking our own law.”

He warned of the dangers Pakistan was facing due to internal and external loans.

According to the president, Pakistan would overcome challenges as we were a nation which was brave and determined. “Even overseas Pakistanis are full of determination to put the country on the right track.”

Challenges in Pakistan

He highlighted the water crisis in the country, stressing on the need to construct dams. “Balochistan and Sindh are facing drought and global climate change is impacting Pakistan severely,” President Alvi said, adding that population was adversely impacting the environment and focus was also needed on tree plantation.

Speaking on the energy crisis, the president said this could be helped by overcoming electricity theft and line losses along with increasing the means of power generation.

The president spoke on the need to improve the standard of education and empowering women. “Nations cannot succeed without women empowerment. Our women are powerful and hardworking.”

Economy

The president said it should be a top priority for the government to resolve the economic crisis being faced by the country. He spoke of industries being shut down and unemployment is at its peak. The president added that inflation had increased in the country owing to an increase in the cost of the dollar, while circular debt was more than Rs1,100 billion.

“I want the government to reduce financial losses and made investment opportunities more feasible.”

Foreign Relations

Commenting on foreign relations, the president said a new phase had begun. “The new government supports CPEC due to its economic gains and for better Pak-China ties. Serious pacts will also be considered with Central Asia for the economy. Pakistan places special importance on ties with Russia and Turkey for regional stability.”

The president stressed that Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with India. “We want a peaceful solution to Kashmir issues and will continue efforts for this. Kashmiri’s have a right to self-determination and I urge the international community to help.”

Opposition stages walkout from joint session

The legislators belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and allies staged a walkout from the joint sitting on Monday.

Soon after recitation from the Holy Quran and Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool (PBUH), the PML-N lawmakers stood up on their seats and sought permission of the chair to speak on a point of order.

Speaker Asad Qaisar, who was chairing the session, did not allow them to do so, citing rules of business as the only agenda of the day was the president’s address to the joint sitting.

The opposition members then walked out of the House in protest.

Earlier, the session was scheduled to be held on September 13 but was postponed until September 17 due to the death of former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz.

According to constitutional provisions, the president has to address a joint session of the Parliament at the beginning of the first session of the National Assembly after a general election as well as the first sitting of the assembly in every parliamentary year.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, members of the federal cabinet and Parliament, chief ministers, governors, ambassadors, diplomats, members of civil society and important personalities from different walks of life are likely to attend the joint session.

Special passes have been issued for the auspicious occasion. All leading entry and exit points would be strictly monitored and unauthorised vehicles would not be allowed to enter the federal capital without a thorough search.

Rangers officials along with police will be deployed to ensure foolproof security on the occasion.

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