14 August 2001, Islamabad
My dear countrymen, wherever you are, within the country or abroad, I greet you today with sincere wishes on the auspicious occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day. Our hands are raised in thanksgiving to Almighty Allah for granting us a homeland of our own, for there is no greater blessing for human beings on this globe than to be citizens of a sovereign state and the masters of their own destiny. This day comes every year, but the 14th August of today carries special value and significance. By the grace of Allah we have overcome innumerable hurdles and difficulties which seemed to be insuperable at times but which, by the grace of God, we have overcome to a considerable extent. So much so that we can now look forward to better times without the sword of economic catastrophe hanging over our heads. This 14th of August also carries another significance. It falls in the year 2001 which we have designated as the Year of the Quaid-i-Azam, which enhances its importance for every lover of the great man, the founding father of our beloved country. It is imperative that, on this day, our minds should go back to the time preceding the first day of independence when, under the inspiring leadership of Quaid-i -Azam Muhammad Au Jinnah, the Muslims of the subcontinent attained their hearts’ desire after unparalleled sacrifices.
Pre-eminent in our memories should be the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives in the struggle. And the countless women and children and elderly people who trudged through a river of blood and fire to get a view of the Promised Land, not everyone reaching it alive. On the part of those who were fortunate to be already in Pakistan there was a tremendous spirit of genuine welcome so that their brothers and sisters should be able to forget the travails and tortures of the most hazardous journey that a migrating 2 people has ever had to face.
I ask myself, in fact all thinking persons in Pakistan today ask themselves, what happened to that vitality, determination and dynamism that laid the foundations of this country, what happened to the time when we felt at the top of the world and equal to any task and any problem? What did we do to lose that magic touch which gave us superhuman strength and dignity? Are they all gone forever? No. My heart tells me that we have not lost all. Apparently we are in the gulf of despair and hopelessness, but something tells me that the old spirit is not totally dead at all.
We shall rise again and attain what Allama Iqbal had dreamed and visualized for us, what the Quaid had achieved and handed over to us to embellish and build upon. We have only to awaken ourselves to realities and truths so that we actually get to know where we stand and what we need to do for us to move forward to attain national glory.
I am personally most thankful to Allah Almighty for giving me this opportunity to lead the process of rebuilding Pakistan with the help of my dedicated colleagues and the supported cooperation of the people of Pakistan. I feel that Pakistan is back on the rails, and it is not me alone to feel that way. Businessmen and industrialists share this feeling of mine and it is confirmed by foreign economic experts. This is no small achievement Government has honored its pledge made to the nation on the last Independence Day.
We have completed the electioneering process for the local bodies. I am confident that this new form of government, managed by the people themselves, will prove a boom for democracy in this country. I am sure you remember how much criticism of the plan there was when it was first mooted. Pages upon pages were written upon newspapers about its alleged deficiencies and a forecast about it’s almost certain failure. And yet, when the time came, the people, the real beneficiaries, who knew what was good for them, turned up in unprecedented numbers to vote, and the political parties, too, which had been describing the plan as poison for provincial autonomy, felt obliged to participate in the elections in their own way.
I salute the nation; I salute the people Pakistan for making this processes a success. I am confident that Insha Allah together we shall see the new system progressing .We now propose to carryout a similar exercise for the provinces and for the federation with the same transparency in election process and the same integration of the rights of the forget that power and authority for the elected representatives stem – j,,- – from the people who are the real repository of all supremacy, and that is how it is 3 going to be even for the highest level of government in Pakistan during my address to the Nazims later today I will be giving out a clear roadmap for putting in place an elected government by October 2002 in accordance with the Supreme Court judgments.
I have just mentioned the heartening fact that Pakistan’s economy is back on the rails. This does not mean that all our-troubles are over. No, but is does mean that we are now on the road to recpvery4ver since we assumed power I have been saying that our basic problem is the economy which had been reduced to shambles. Our priorities are payment of foreign debts, defense and the administration. We have done much towards retrieving a bad situation, and I must acknowledge the fact that friendly countries lave really been a great help in this regard. Of course now our decision is to keep reducing our borrowings from abroad.
We have quite successfully brought down the day-to day expenses of the federal and provincial governments. We have even frozen the budgetary allocation for defense, which, considering the situation on our borders is no mean achievement this was made possible through the defense forces’ desire to contribute to national economic development without any compromise on the professional capability and adjust to change without lowering their deterrence guard. The most potent factor for achieving economic recovery and then subsequently economic prosperity is foreign investment.
Three elements have greatly hampered this: mainly needless restrictions Imposed by the government, corruption in the upper echelons of bureaucracy, and the state of law an Order LFO first has been well looked after and I know that.
Prospective investors are pleased with our efforts on this accord. The second, the perennial bane of Third World countries, the National Accountability Bureau has put the fears of God into all of us. Especially the leaders I am also confident that with a persistent campaign for recovery of arms and the proposed legal and executive action against taxonomists, the law and order situation will be gradually register a noticeable improvement. Let me assert firmly that we shall not allow any organization to spread the language of violence and intolerance it makes me happy that on complete consent and cooperation of the public and the people.
I urge every Pakistan to join hands to destroy-steadfast. The fight to maintain law and order and overcome the menace of sectarian and ethnic extremism. 4
My dear countrymen, my heart bleeds when I look at the plight of the poor, the deprived and the depressed in various parts of the country. We have launched Khusshal Pakistan Programne. It’s aimed directly at reducing poverty and providing jobs to the unemployed. We have initiated a Food Support nime% the substance of the poor. The Khusshal Bank is making loans available to the poor people who are starting small businesses. The new Zakat strategy is being launched from today which will give grant up to Rs 50,000 to the poorest to make them sustaining. These measures apart, the only really out of the burden of poverty is for to economy over through local and foreign investment and establishing labor-intensive industries and launching of development projects. You will see visible progress towards real poverty alleviation. In the coming days I shall be launching multibillion rupees development projects all over the country for dual purpose of kick starting the economy and employment generation.
Ladies and gentlemen! I am grateful to the nation for endorsing our recent ventures in the field of foreign policy. We have brought the Kashmir dispute out from the closet and made it the focus of world attention. Here I would like to restate that we are not hidebound in our attitude, and, & have categorically stated on my return from Agra that we are in favor. Further talks on the Kashmir dispute and other issues of difference with India. Without sacrificing our sovereignty and our national honor and dignity we are willing to go to any length in order to maintain friendly relations with all our neighbors. This is particularly true with regard to India because we are convinced that without the amicable solution of the thorny and longstanding Kashmir disputes the two countries cannot progress and develop to the desired extent. My dear countrymen, we have everything in Pakistan in terms of both human and material resources required to give us a place of dignity and honor in the comity of nations. All that is required is the will to work, unity of thought among the constituent provinces, readiness to listen to other viewpoints, and the ability to draw up the right priorities.
The armed forces of Pakistan, by the grace of Allah, backed by a nuclear potential, provide us complete security from external threat. Unfortunately, however, our threat emanates from within. Our economic malice coupled with intolerant extremist attitudes in certain quarters is the termites eating us from within. All that is required is 5 will to face these challenges. We must realize and understand that the time has now come to rededicate ourselves for achieving our primary objective; the attainment of rightful place in the world. To do this we must understand and willingly shoulder our responsibility as citizens and we must make a deliberate and concerted effort to foster and develop a peaceful, orderly and harmonious society primarily by exhibiting tolerance and understanding of each other’s views and beliefs whether religious or political. Remember, the character and performance of a nation is the sum total of the character and performance of every one of its individual citizens.
On this auspicious day I appeal to the people of Pakistan to forge unity amongst their ranks. Let us not fall prey to the powers that wish to see us fragmented into sects and ethnic groups. Let us reflect the aspirations expressed in the National Anthem the entire nation sung in unison this morning.
I quote a stanza from our National Anthem:
I translate it:
“The strength of the sacred land is the people’s solidarity there in does lay its power Thereby, the Nation, State and Country Live in glory everlasting”
My dear countrymen! We have the human and material resources that can propel us to the forefront of the comity of nations. All that is required is the will to work, unity of thought, among the constituent provinces, readiness to listen to other’s viewpoint and the ability to draw up the right priorities. As we congratulate ourselves on Pakistan’s birthday and wish each other well on the sacred anniversary let us take all the solemn vow that henceforth we shall not give way to despondency or hopelessness and do anything that detracts even minutely from the prestige and honor of our country. Pakistan has so much to make its citizens proud of it. We have everything that should boost our optimism and our faith in the country’s future and its prestige and its honor. We must develop confidence in ourselves and in our abilities to shape our future towards prosperity. I have 6 already quoted a verse from our beautiful National Anthem.
Let me close this speech with another verse which is equally inspiring; And I translate again
O’ land of Pakistan You symbol of high resolve you citadel of faith May you endure forever I am sure that if we resolve to understand the true meaning of this verse and translate them into action no power in the world will be able to halt or hinder our march to prime and glory.
Maybe we have lost sight of the Quaid-i-Azam’s guiding lines Unity, Faith, Discipline. Let us unite to shun divisive sectarian and ethnic forces. Let us shun despondency and have faith in Allah and also in ourselves to be able to achieve and rise.
Let us discipline ourselves to act in unison towards the achievement of Pakistan’s glorious future. May Allah Almighty give us the strength and the ability to make our country into the ‘Pak Ser Zameen’ of our National Anthem?
I wish you all well ladies and gentlemen. Pakistan Paindabad