Posted by: Administrator | 5 July, 2006

President’s visionary speech at APNS Award Ceremony

27 May 2006

I am very pleased to speak to such a large gathering. Mr. Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman has raised certain questions during his address. I am not going to say about what we are doing and what we have achieved. I will talk on what has to be done. What we have to do and what is remaining to be done overall for Pakistan. I will talk on that and all your questions will be covered in it. Now come to the issues to be discussed:

First of all the national issue: What is National Interest? If the perception is that Pakistan is an extremist, intolerant and terrorist state and someone from us also projects the same way, then it will further reinforce these perceptions against National Interest. Secondly, if someone says that there is no progress in the economy – this is wrong. Then naturally nobody will invest here. It is a wrong attitude because if you look at international level, we float the bonds i.e. Islamic, Euro and dollar bonds in the world. On Euro bonds in America we had lot of interest, people, not the government, have given 2.5 million dollars for 30 years. On the interest rate of more than 2% on their own interest rate. In this way, this country will earn and will progress. They can see that their economy is progressing. That is why, we are getting investment as nobody is mad to hand over 300 million dollars. So, if we are saying here that economy is dying then this leads to disappointment. Also investment will be affected and naturally the National Interest will suffer.

If we are dealing with A. Q. Khan or dealing with the nuclear issue then it would have serious impact on our country. If somebody who has no idea about this, exaggerates this, then it is against national interest. So, I can’t give the exact definition. But one has to speak with honesty and truth. I believe in freedom of press. And if somebody says that we are continuing with the same record then I totally disagree. People are saying that you have given too much freedom. I said, “No we have to gain some maturity.” And this is the only way. I don’t have a problem personally; I don’t have skeletons in the cupboards by the Grace of God. You can write any thing about me. I will justify everything I do. So I don’t have a problem. Neither do I hide, nor do I need your help in this because I don’t have anything to hide. 1 You should write objectively even if it is against the government so that we come to know what is wrong. But currently 95% is criticism and there is no good thing being seen. Secondly, most of the criticism is wrong, since it is not based on facts, it is painful. I know many positive articles are being written but never been published. It pains and hurts. There is one mistake by the government which we have to accept that we don’t give out the information. I always stress to open up this mindset has to be changed.I was telling the information minister that we should have a regular briefing on all government issues so that people should know and talk openly so that our side is covered that we haven’t told anything to you.

I don’t believe the poll system, in which you have discussed that we are the 9th failed state even worse than Afghanistan. God save us if we are that way! I was analysing it, why is it like that? And I would share it with you. This was done by Thomson dialogue. The first time I heard about that company, they had collected the raw data from our newspapers. I don’t want to quote the newspapers. They have built computer-based program in which there are 12 indicators. There are 9 earthquake related indicators, the other are ethnic polarization. They are all collecting from our newspaper and is that all-national interest? You talked about the press council: No, I am not waiting for the next elections frankly I was too busy to think about this. But I said to do it and not every thing is related to 2007.

You said we are fastest growing economy but there is no electricity. Yes indeed there is an increase in sale of air conditioners by 15%; their prices have dropped a lot. Every person is installing air conditions in his house because there is money in the pocket to buy the air conditioner. There is plenty of commercialisation. So, when there is a growth in industrialization there would be a shortage of electricity. If the cars selling has increased from 35,000 to 135,000 and motorcycles have gone up from 87,000 to 700,000, the traffic would become a problem. We would have to build under passes and flyovers. But since they are not there, we have problems.

Ladies and gentlemen please analyse these issues; these are due to economic growth. We have to do something when criticize the government. Why there is delay in such things? Why there isn’t electricity? Why we are not getting gas from Iran? Why we are not making electricity from coal? Analyse these things and then criticize. Tell the government that they are going slow or whatever. But don’t say that we are asleep and we don’t know anything. I want to tell you that we have addressed every issue and we have made a strategy for the last 5-6 years. The problem lies in the implementation/ execution. Some implementations take time. Some implementations have failure and shortages; there you should printout the shortfalls/weaknesses. You should also come out with solutions.

2 I do realize that you (the media) are the fourth pillar of the state. And I facilitated your growth and bonding. I will also say that you will be the first line of defense in my point of view. I will discuss with you whenever we got time to discuss about Kargil, although it’s a sensitive subject. How a successful military operation was converted into a perception of defeat by the media. But I leave this for a moment. To defend the country is not only my or government’s job, it is also your duty. And to improve its perception is not only my duty, it is yours as well and we should all realize that. Not much has been done. There are millions of things which have not been done. A lot is to be done and there is no doubt in my mind. It’s not the job of 3 yrs.

Strategies have been developed and implementation is in process. If you look at the developmental issue which will impact the economy and growth, all those are being developed. You have seen how it affected trade and social activities. Mirani dam that started four years ago would be completed in September this year. Mangla Dam raising started two years ago, Gwadar deep sea port Coastal Highway and all the projects water supply plan to bring the Indus water to Hub started four years ago and have now been completed or nearing completion. I always give the example of half full and half empty glass. Do we want to have an optimistic approach? Or want to look at what has not and keep on cribbing. The cynics and pessimists focus only on half empty, create a negativism and despondency. The one who look at the half full will always remain happy. I always look both empty and full part to have a wholesome view. I am not cynic or pessimist. I have faith in this country, this nation and in the people of Pakistan. We have to achieve this, we have to do it. We will fill up the glass (InshaAllah). This is how I look at those things. Now I come to what is to be done.

No. 1: We have to stabilize the Frontier province. This is our issue because it is related to extremism and terrorism. Unfortunately, it is destabilizing our nation. Whereas there had been terrorism by al-Qaeda and foreigners have ended, they have been made to run away but they are still there and they are hidden. Earlier their number was in hundreds but now they are small in number, in penny packets. But now the ball game is different, spread of extremism, do not shave beard, do not listen to music etc. If you don’t want to watch TV, don’t watch. Don’t ask others to do the same. They are spreading now outside the tribal areas i.e. Bannu, D.I.Khan. They have to be arrested. A multiple prong strategy is required and that strategy is under application. A new governor has been appointed. He is the man who made it possible for the army to move into tribal areas. Invited by Maliks, he was garlanded. He is the person who established fully functional girl’s hostel in the tribal areas and where the girls were staying before 9/11. 3 So we were trying to facilitate the people of tribal areas and finally absorb them in Frontier. Unfortunately, due to 9/11 our strategy could not be implemented. In brief, we want to reinvigorate the political agent institution of FATA. We will appoint best political agents there. They will have special privileges, special salaries. They will be backed up with the force not the force of army but Frontier constabulary and levies. Frontier Constabulary is the one that guards the people will be the political agents. Political Agent will have Agency council composed of few Maliks and Lungi holders. They will make developmental plans. Thus, political agent and FATA secretariat will be reinvigorated and a FATA development authority will be created. Our ten billion rupees will be annually spent on the development in tribal areas for poverty alleviation and job creation. A comprehensive plan has been developed and a study has been conducted. This task was given to Mr. Imtiaz. He prepared it in three weeks, presented and we have adopted it. Its details will be released later on. So it is a four-track approach in frontier. First of all military is working against terrorism but we want to bring forth other administrative, political agent, FATA Development Authority, Governor to the president. This is the channel there and we will handle the whole situation.

Secondly 30 billion rupees will be spent for the development and thirdly we will adopt political administration to liberate these people from extremist. Political Agent will have Agency Council composed of few Maliks and Lungi Holders. Balochistan has to be stabilized. I want to give credit to the Governor and to the Frontier Corps of Balochistan. There is winning situation. I request you to go there and observe the situation. I just want to tell you that there had been dissatisfaction and blackmailing against government which was mentioned in the newspaper. I just want to give a hint because people think that entire Balochistan is on fire. It is just a perception and who is creating this perception? I leave it to you. Regarding Bugti, there are two lacs Bugties in all. And regarding Marris, they are one lac or so, total 3 or 3 ½ lacs. Is this representing the entire Balochistan? Let me also tell you that 45 thousands Marris are Bijranis and I have met Bijrani’s chief. He is very friendly and the Gazeeni tribe which is of Khair Buksh Marri are only 18,000. You can ask the Balochi people here, if I am wrong in figures. So, they are only 18,000 out of one lac and the remaining, many of them are with us. They are asking us to come to Kohlu and start development. The coal mines which were occupied by them have now been returned to their owners. The Mushineris and Bugties are out. Mangals are about 4 lacs, but they are spread in the entire Balochistan and the ones who are antagonistic are in Khuzdar or in Wad in small in numbers. Naseer Mangal is from there and he is with us. What is the issue? These are few people who have been blackmailing the whole country and governments. Balochistan’s 95% area was considered ‘B’ and 5 % ‘A’. Basses are being converted into an area with proper police, judicial system etc. 4 So, if we say that Balochistan is on fire, it will be destroyed and Pakistan will be destroyed, it is wrong. Actually a change can be seen there. Black flag was hoisted in Dera Bugti but now Pakistani flag is hoisted on 23rd March. If someone sits and talks in UK that we are killing women and children and using chemical weapons even when we don’t have chemical weapons. Previous governments have been buying missiles and they will be able to buy tanks and artillery guns in a few years if we do not check them today. Whereas Bugti and Marri have raised private Malatias have been giving them millions of rupees and they have made their own force. After a few years they will be like Dostum of Afghanistan with full army and you will have to fight with the whole army. Whatever I want to do is not for myself, it is for this nation. We do not want to continue the ‘B’ area policy. The people who exiled their own people and snatched away their lands; we brought those people back to their lands, made schools for them, provided road, and water facility.

There is no shortage of money. PSDP has exceeded 100 billion for the first time in just 11 years. And for the coming years, we have 415 billions. So if anybody says we cannot develop, our economy is going down, we are a failed state, then it seems funny and is a sad statement. We’ll do development in Balochistan and FATA. 100 million have been given to every district. 3 or 4 billion are given to these districts. The problem is that we don’t have the capacity to use this money honestly. We will stabilize Balochistan in a few months. You have said there is daily rocket firing in Quetta but let me tell you that today there is nothing like that. So please know the facts correctly. Balochistan is in a changed situation, you can see and if someone is still saying that Balochistan is on fire, then he is talking against the national interest. Go and see in Balochistan what we have done and achieved. I myself will go to Dera Bugti. Unfortunately, we will have to bear it, pay a cost for what we are doing, but we will stabilize Balochistan.

Thirdly, we will continue our struggle against extremism in our society. I have told 6 point strategy to deal with extremism. Three short-term measures: ban militant organizations, ban hate material and misuse of mosque loudspeakers. In long-term syllabus improvement, especially Islamiat syllabus. The rituals which are creating differences should be removed and we should make children learn the essence of Islam. The real values of Islam should be stressed upon. Madarasa reforms and a debate on creating/ adopting the real values of Islam.

Then we have to sustain our economic growth and it will be sustained in spite of oil process, in spite of earthquake, we would have 6.5 % economic growth and next year it would be above 7%. But according to our strategy if we could maintain the economic growth between 6-8% it would be fine. And I am not doubtful about it. We will keep it near 8%.

5 We will have to do lot of things, many dams are to be constructed. We are moving to agro-based industries and bringing a white revolution. We are 4th or 5th largest milk producing country. We will have to attract investors-foreign and Pakistanis. And it is coming to Pakistan too. US$ b300 billion target. I want investment in every sector and I want the investment in our strong points like textile, new machines should be imported, value added investment and you will be happy to know that only textile industry has invested 5.2 billion dollars. Our exports are to be increased; our target is to cross 20 billion dollars.

Energy sector is a great problem; we are doing a major planning. We are trying to be energy corridor with China, I have asked. China KKH had been the eighth wonder of the world. We can create ninth wonder of the world by constructing a gas and oil pipeline through Pakistan and tenth wonder of the world by constructing a railway track to China and all these are being given serious attention. We will make Pakistan energy corridor. Gwadar port will be a trade corridor and I am saying it because we can make Gwadar a container terminal/ hub, and if refineries are built here in which many people have shown interest then it can be an energy hub/ corridor.

Mining has been ignored in the past. You know we have found a mine in the south of Sandak. This is one of the world’s biggest copper-gold mine. Australians were working on this. Biggest copper miners are from Chilli and gold miners from Canada. They have taken over and they are saying they will speedily finish it. We have Gems and stones; we don’t know how to take them out, neither cut nor polish them. We are making a park on Karachi airport where they would be polished and value added. I went to the marble city of Balochistan. We mine marble with the help of explosives and 70% marble is wasted. We want to do its mining, cutting and polishing in the best technical manner.

What I am trying to say is that is the path to growth. So it was the sustenance of economy. We will have to move forward. It will reduce poverty and end unemployment. Jobs do not mean government jobs. Government sector cannot create jobs for 15 million people. It is the growth of private sector that will create jobs. Way forward is something much bigger. We have to sustain the economy, reach out to the middle class, lower class, we have to reach out to the people and let these benefits go to the poor people of Pakistan. Efforts will have to be made. We have conducted a survey and completed study that poverty increased from 18% to 34 % from 1988-99 and now it is 24.2% and international organizations are agreeing with it. Don’t think poverty and unemployment are increasing, it is decreasing.

 Millennium goal post that every country has to bring poverty level to 13% InshaAllah till 2015 we will bring it to the level, if we carry on doing what I am saying we will do it. You can see poverty because 24% of poverty is terrible. One man in every four is poor. So please don’t say that it is increasing. How can you say that when industrial growth is there? Motorcycles, fans, mobile phones have increased from 6 million to 30 million. Who is buying all this and if any industry is not there then who is selling it. Look at the telecom industry, construction industry how can you say there is no job creation, they are there. It does not even need a survey. 6 Industrialist used to hire a labourer at Rs. 96 daily, now they are willing to pay Rs. 130-140 and they cannot get labour even at this price. So jobs are there, situation is still not good, we have to improve but don’t say that it is going down.

Get your figures renewed. A visible proof of this is the last page of the Economist. ISI has not forced them to include Pakistan’s name. It is because it’s a fact. We are a performing economy of the world. We have not gone down. We have to reduce poverty, unemployment, prices. This is our failure I admit. Inflation has increased and prices have gone up but look at the reason. The reason is increase in oil prices and the other thing is economic growth.

When the economy grows it effects per capita income and per capita is not a hard and fast rule that everybody is getting $800. But it should not be thought as to be a useless gauge. It is a gauge, per capita income has its effects on poor and rich, maybe more on rich, but it is not the period of 22 families, it is the period of SME’s. People are coming to the industries, everything is open. So our financial gains have lot of spread on economy. Its spread is very big of our financial gains with the people. You yourself know this when you go to Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, and Sialkot. Look how many people are coming into this industry. Now we are encouraging SME’s. The money is wide spread. Our Honda Atlas motors Mr. Sherazi told that 700,000 motorcycles have been sold. And majority of them are being bought in the rural areas. Those who have cycles are now buying motorcycles. In a lot of rural areas people are buying motorcycles because they have the money to buy. Please understand the realities. We have to do the price reduction and there is an improvement in poverty. We will give subsidies in the price reduction. We will control prices. We will do capping of these. We should give subsidy in sugar, and in pulses. I know that in Pakistan, Dall Chana has maximum consumption. Its consumption is 0.5 million and consumption of rest of the pulses is 0.1 million. We will do the maximum subsidies on the 6-8 items. And the government will announce this. The government will do price reduction for the poor people. We will do proper marketing so that it would be available and it will reach them.

The Chief Ministers are sitting and they would do that. We have to improve the common man’s quality of life – their poverty, price reduction, employment. We are making plans for safe water, electricity and gas. We have to do human resource development, improve education and health. I want to tell you two things about education that you should know. What is our strategy on education? Other than that we are looking every aspect of education. I want to talk about higher education. Atta-ur-Rehman has contacted people all over the world. Nine countries will help us in technical and engineering universities set up. We are selecting places in the country where they will be located. Insha Allah they would be of international standard. They all will start in 2008. We will produce qualified engineers. A PhD program is running beside this. Currently, there are 1,200 people doing PhD’s overseas. By the time 2010 we will produce 1,500 PhD’s every year. 7 Secondly we don’t have technicians. We have industries but we don’t have technical people. So, we have National, Vocational and technical institution which Altaf Saleem is running. We should have vocational and technical schools in every part of the country to produce technicians through them. There would be job creation, poverty alleviation and its benefits reaching to the masses.

We will stabilize Frontier. We will stabilize Balochistan. We will sustain the economy and reach out to the people and masses. We are doing sustainable democracy in the country and we will do it. Every action would be according to the constitution that is all what I want to say. There should be consultation with the constitution of Pakistan. I will not violate the constitution of Pakistan. We have made local government system. For the first time they have completed their four years. New elections happened and new people came. There were elections after three years in Senate and new people came. First time national and provincial assemblies will complete their tenure and elections will be held according to the constitution. Fair and transparent elections will happen. There is sustainable democracy in Pakistan. It will sustain and we will make it more sustainable. Lastly, we have to sustain our international stature. We will maintain our friendly relations with other countries and if we have concerns we will have to minimize them.

We are trying to solve the problems with India. We have to address conflict resolutions. In this we have Siachen, Kashmir and Sir Creek. Let us hope for the best that good sense prevails and we will come out with the solutions, acceptable to Pakistan, people of Kashmir and people of India. I feel that there is a solution. We are to generate the moment between the two countries to solve the Kashmir issue. And we move forward to the solution. Now it is a new Pakistan. It is rising and forward moving Pakistan if we all join our hands and see what National Interest is. I have given my views. You will all see and genuinely say. Government is keeping you informed about everything that is for National Interest. I want you to do it for Pakistan not for the government. And please cover up things that are not in National interest – that is my request to you. Thank you!

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