ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said the resilience of people has helped the government to overcome multiple challenges and now Pakistan is moving fast on recovery track.
He urged Pakistan’s allies to fulfill their pledges as delay in development work provides room to the extremists to project their negative agenda.
The Prime Minister during interaction with the Envoys of Western countries at a luncheon meeting here at the PM House on Thursday afternoon said that economic woes of Pakistan are mainly the result of terrorism.
He added that international recession, devastating floods and presence of 3.5 million Afghan refugees have further aggravated the country’s socio-economic problems.
The Prime Minister said it is true that some fringe group had tried to make political capital from the debate about blasphemy laws. The real issue is the misuse of the law, for that matter any law by any one, he added.
He further said: “we cannot allow such aberration to happen.” The tragic assassination of Governor Salman Taseer, he observed, has underscored the imperative need for the Pakistani society to marginalize and eliminate extremist’s tendencies.
The Prime Minister mentioned that democracy had been derailed in Pakistan a number of times.
He added that when the present Government took over, it was confronted with major challenges foremost being revival of democratic culture and restoration of state institutions as well as the system disrupted under the erstwhile authoritarian rule.
Consequently, he said, the Government had to take up the task urgently amending the constitution which was infested with autocratic provisions.
The Prime Minister said the second most daunting challenge was introduction of reforms in the economic and energy sectors as well as the development of the backward areas which had been ignored in the past.
He added that economic development of the backward areas is a prerequisite to save the younger lot from falling prey to the extremists’ propaganda.
He observed that both challenges of terrorism and economic difficulties are inter-related and inter-linked. He asserted that Pakistan has a firm resolve and commitment to fight terrorism.
Commenting of the political situation, the Prime Minister said that the Government has taken initiative to take up political parties on board in resolving national issues including economic reforms process.
He said that keeping in view the success and continuity of the economic reforms, the Government will make decisions after evolving political consensus on the agenda.
Referring to corruption issue, the Prime Minister observed that it is a tight rope walking. He said it is difficult to balance development activities, resolve national issues and checking corruption simultaneously.
However, he added, the Government in consultation with the opposition is framing accountability laws to evolve a fair system to eradicate corruption. He observed that free, fair and transparent elections could help elimination of corrupt individuals.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the Government has appointed the Leader of the Opposition as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to oversee the official expenditure.
The media and judiciary are also performing their duty vigilantly in this regard as well, he added. Furthermore, he mentioned, the honest and upright officers are being appointed on key positions to improve governance.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Pakistan wants to cultivate good relations with its neighbours. He said the Government is aggressively pursuing the policy of friendship with Afghanistan, Iran, India and China.
He regretted: “whenever we make some headway in ties with India, Mumbai incident is used to stall the progress.”
The Prime Minister said that the world response on flood devastation in Pakistan speaks for success of our foreign policy.
The Prime Minister stressed upon the need to evolve a common strategy to fight terrorism and extremism involving regional and international partners.
The Ambassadors observed that the goodwill and sympathy generated for Pakistan after floods has been lost because of the incident of killing of Governor Punjab and the images beamed by the media.
They said that the pictures aired by the Pakistani media in support of the criminal who assassinated late Salman Taseer painted negative image of the Pakistani society.
Pictures of extremists showering petals of flowers generate Islamophobia in societies which are ignorant of Islamic teachings. They pointed out that those who believe that Islam is a peaceful and progressive religion should speak out at all forums including media.
The Envoys said that economic reforms are crucial for Pakistan itself otherwise it could miss the millennium development goals and would be left behind if reforms are not implemented.
They said without economic stability, it would be difficult for developed states to have meaningful relations with Pakistan.