اردو
  • In joint session, President Alvi urges lawmakers to ‘end polarisation’ and decide election date together

    • Last modified on
    • Published in General

    President Dr Arif Alvi, in an address to the joint session of the Parliament on Thursday, called on politicians to end growing polarisation in the country and decide on an election date by coming together.

    “People can only be united if politicians are united,” he said, highlighting that eliminating differences was the “need of the hour”.

    The joint session of the National Assembly today was called in line with articles 54(1) and 56(3) of the Constitution.

    The session was sparsely attended, with the majority of MNAs missing from both benches. Those in attendance were seen freely mingling and talking amongst one another while the president was speaking.

    Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtar Ahmed chanted slogans calling for MNA Ali Wazir’s production orders to be issued, even as the president continued speaking. He later staged a protest in front of the NA speaker’s rostrum with Senator Tahir Bizenjo and MNA MNA Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali.

    At the outset of his address today, the president expressed that the biggest problem Pakistan was facing today were the catastrophic floods that wreaked havoc across the country and rendered millions homeless.

    “I want to felicitate the Pakistan Army for helping victims while sacrificing their lives. The federal and provincial governments, PDMA (Provincial Disaster Management Authority), and NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) all worked hard on the ground. I thank all of them.”

    Dr Alvi pointed out that if the relief work was not done on time, the human and economic losses from the floods would have been higher.

    Pakistan’s contribution to global warming was not even 1 per cent, but the country was suffering the most, he said. “I want to commend agencies and the government for the way they worked. I believe they deserve commendation.”

    The president said that the disastrous floods had damaged crops spread over acres and underscored the need for crop insurance.

    “Agriculture is our economic backbone. We must look towards countries that are progressing in this sector.

    “The Netherlands is 19 times smaller than Pakistan but it progressed so much on the agricultural front, and my country should have progressed more in this field. If we adopt a scientific approach, Pakistan can beat the world,” he stated.

    Dr Alvi also said that the recent floods had, once again, raised the demand for building dams.

    ‘Ties with US improving’

    Talking about foreign affairs in his speech today, the president lauded the government for improving ties with the United States, saying that the country had been a “good friend” to Pakistan.

    “We have seen ups and downs but the US is a big market for our goods. We want to improve ties on mutual understanding. The government is striving for it and I commend this.”

    Dr Alvi also underscored the importance of Pakistan’s ties with China. “I believe the Pakistan-China friendship is a real one and CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) is an example of it.”

    The president went on that Pakistan’s stance on Ukraine was clear and the country expected ties with Europe to strengthen.

    Talking about Afghanistan, he said: “We have a clear position that we want peace there. Taliban have promised that their soil will not be used against terrorism and we expect everyone to keep their word.”

    Dr Alvi went on that Pakistan wanted a “broad-based government” in the neighbouring country.

    About India, he said that Pakistan desired better ties with India but only after a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. “We believe Hindutva mindset and Islamophobia are being exported and I want India to not do this because it has an impact,” he added.

    Education and health

    Going on, the president lauded the nation for fighting terrorism.

    “The way we tackled Covid should also be commended. Our neighbors suffered huge damage due to Covid but we didn’t,” he said.

    Bringing the parliament’s attention towards education, Dr Alvi warned against neglecting the youth as he called for the inclusion of children who were out of school. “Members of parliament must focus on this.

    “I have spoken to ulema that mosques should have sessions to provide school education. If you can’t provide education to children, give them skills,” he highlighted.

    The president said that online education could be used for infusing knowledge among the youth. “There are good education institutions that can help in this initiative.”

    Pakistan also needed to build a mechanism to provide employment to the people, he added.

    In the field of science and technology, Alvi stressed that children needed to be prepared for the future. “Several smaller countries are ahead of Pakistan in cyber power while our policies are weak in this respect.”

    Our defence establishment needed cyber power to protect the utilities and financial institutions, he said, adding that in the future, wars would be fought in the cyber world, hence, Pakistan needed to focus on that.

    Moving to the health sector, President Alvi emphasised the provision of contraceptives, saying that when economies improved, family sizes shrunk.

    Also, stunting was another problem Pakistan was facing.

    Furthermore, he appreciated the Benazir Income Support Programme and Ehsaas Poverty Alleviation Programme for their performance. He also thanked the Bill Gates Foundation for its polio eradication efforts in the country.

    During his speech, Dr Alvi particularly highlighted the importance of curing diseases linked to mental illnesses stressing that there were society’s “silent killers”.

    “We need to make cures affordable and increase the number of medical practitioners. We need to raise awareness about telehealth helplines and educate the poor segments of our society regarding it.”

    Moreover, the president said that women should be given chances to work in public offices and urged lawmakers to work on eliminating harassment.