Posted by: Administrator | 24 July, 2006

President Address to the Nation 9 Oct 2002

President Musharraf’s Address to the Nation (Excerpts)

9 October, 2002

 President Pervez Musharraf said that people should elect competent and honest representatives to ensure true and sustainable democracy in the country.

He appealed to the people to bring a change by electing new faces so that old politicians and the old system donot return. He pledged to provide security to the voters and hold free, fair and transparent elections. 

He declared that he would hand over power to the elected prime minister and abolish the office of the Chief Executive, which he assumed on October 12, 1999, when he seized power. He urged the people to fulfil their responsibility of electing efficient, honest and dedicated representatives, as he has fulfilled the promise he made with the nation of introducing real democracy in the country. He said, “Pakistan is at the crossroads of history and going to start a new democratic era. This is a transitional phase,” he said.

President Musharraf stressed winning candidates should be submissive, tolerant and show large heartedness while the losing candidates should show maturity and accept the defeat with dignity, burying the politics of enmity and hatred. “One should look bright future of democracy in Pakistan as the present government has succeeded in developing a culture of honesty and merit,” said the president. He expressed the hope that the future government would not change the culture of merit and honesty.

He said the media could play a very important role. “We have given complete independence to press and electronic media, and it should report freely on matters of national importance.”

He said the past democratic governments emerged as a result of sham democracy, which put the country on path of disaster. He said the government has now brought the country back from the brink of disaster and created a true democratic culture. “We have to take the country forward on a democratic path, a path of sustainable democracy, and with these elections we are going to start a new era of reconciliation to strengthen the country and its institutions,” said the president.

General Musharraf said Allah Almighty has given Pakistan all resources in abundance and “we all shall have complete faith in the prosperous future of Pakistan. He said, “whatever I had in my mind and heart, I spoke.” At the same time, he said, he never hesitated to admit mistakes.

The President said he dauntlessly faced the external and internal challenges and, by the grace of Allah Almighty, pulled the country out of woods and placed it back on the road to economic stability. “We earned a respect for our country in the comity of nations,” the President said.

During his three-year government, the President said he consulted people from all walks of life and took the nation into confidence over matters of national importance.

“We promoted honesty and merit and collectively guided the country on the road to progress, prosperity and dignity.”

The President said he often had complaints from politicians that the army did not give them enough time to work for the progress of the country. But, he reminded, during the last eleven years two political governments had a chance to serve the nation twice each.

The present government, he said, was also given a three-year time by the Supreme Court and “we delivered in these three years which these governments failed to do.” President Musharraf said crowning of these restructuring and reforms was only possible by introducing true and sustainable democracy in the country.

The President said, “We have started the process of true democracy by empowering the poorest of the poor at the grassroots level and giving them all administrative, financial and political authority.”

He said many international organisations termed the government devolution plan as silent revolution and “I myself feel that it is a true silent revolution.” With the passage of time, the President said, this system will take roots and help establish a new political culture which would be beneficial for the common man.

He paid tributes to the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) for the hard work it had done to put the new system in place. Talking about the rationale behind the constitutional amendments, the President said its main purpose was to introduce a system of checks and balances on all ‘power brokers,’ ensure sustainable democracy and continuity of reforms and policies.

All the amendments, he said, had been made in light of the decision of the Supreme Court and “I am happy that in its recent decision, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that these amendments have been made without disturbing the basic structure of the constitution.”

He said over 300 foreign observers are here to monitor the polls. “They are free to go anywhere and observe themselves the entire process,” he said while adding, the government has provided them the security and other facilities.

The president reassured that all executive authority will be fully transferred to the elected prime minister and he will no more be the chief executive. But, he made it clear that he will ensure good governance and will not compromise, whatsoever, on the solidarity and integrity of the motherland.

The President promised to use his good offices to promote political harmony and an environment of reconciliation. Referring to certain concerns over the ‘lacklustre’ election campaign, he said there might have been no major political rallies but leaders of political parties addressed millions of people through freedom of expression given to the print and electronic media.

“This is the modern way (of electioneering), this is how it is done worldwide. The projection, these leaders received through electronic and print media is unprecedented.” The President did not agree to assertions made by certain quarters about the absence of two leaders from the political scene. “Are there only two leaders left in this country of 140 million people,” the President asked. He said, “we are very talented nation and the need is only to give the talent an opportunity to emerge.”

About another apprehension of old faces returning to assemblies, the President asked not to be so pessimistic about the future. “We have analysed the situation and observed that almost 41 per cent of the traditional faces have vanished due to the graduation condition introduced to bring forth educated, capable and enlightened people,” he added. In the Punjab province alone, he said, of the total candidates, 90 per cent are new faces. Moreover, he said, the allocation of reserved seats for women will also have a positive impact on the composition of the future parliament.

The president said political polarisation, country witnessed in the past, was due to two political leaders who pursued politics of hatred and vengeance throughout. But he hoped, since they were no more there, “the new leadership will not indulge in politics of personal vendetta.”

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