Posted by: Administrator | 2 October, 2006

President address to Pakistani Community and Asian Society, Australia

16 June 2005, Australia

“Coming to the realities in the world and region I would like to give a very short overview of global changes that have occurred special past decade of 90s. Before the cold war ended the geo strategic focus of the world was Euro centric. There was an East-West conflict, NATO and WARSAW pact, the issue of Germany and the Berlin wall. But in the 90s after the defeat of Soviet Union in Afghanistan and collapse of Soviet empire the geo-strategic focus shifted to Europe to Middle East and with the emergence of Central Asian state to central Asia. Then to Afghanistan because what was happening in Afghanistan with the emergence of Taliban and more so after 9/11 and also to China. This area became the nuclear flash point with the confrontation between India and Pakistan in South Asian region. So if you join this arc of South Asia, China, Central Asia, Gulf and Middle East, Pakistan is exactly in the center. Therefore, the significance of the fall out of all that is happening on Pakistan and our being at the center stage and being at the epicenter for what ever is happening.

The other issue is the turmoil that the world is facing today. It is turmoil from two points of view.

Firstly, it is from the security point of view because the world has become too dangerous place to live in with all the bomb blast and Suicide bombing that is going on. Militancy is rampant now with terrorism every where. There is one issue of security imbalance of the world. The other is socioeconomic development imbalance of the world. I believe there is unevenness in prosperity level around the world while there is island of prosperity like one such island being this beautiful island that we stand in. There are oceans of poverty around in the world. Some time I feel these oceans of poverty may be on the increase and island of poverty may be on the decrease. So, therefore, if we don’t address these problems very seriously may be the islands some time in the future drown in the oceans that are enlarging.

The question is what to do about it. As far as Pakistan is concerned we are both involved in the socio-economic development and security prospective of the region of the world and in the Islamic world.

Another element is the upheaval in the Islamic world itself. All political disputes or tensions are in the Islamic world today. It has led two very serious misperceptions. One misperception was in the west that may be Islam as a religion is a religion of extremism, militancy and intolerance. The other misperception is in the Islamic world that may be the West is targeting Islam as a religion. When the theory of “clash of civilization also happened to come around it lends fuel to misperception. It is high time and imperative to address this issue and on a very broad scale I feel there are three dimensions to address this.

One is in its immediate prospective we have to fight terrorism frontally with all the force that every country has and Pakistan is determine to fight terrorism. We will continue till we defeat terrorism in our area and contribute towards peace. The other issue is in immediate prospective is to address root causes of terrorism. When we talk of root causes I am convinced that the root cause is resolution of political disputes which happened to be breeding around of extremism because it is political disputes which lead to alienation, the sense of powerlessness and hopelessness which then leads on people to terrorism and extremism. Resolution of political disputes is the second dimension of our battle to improve the world.

The third dimension is to assist in the socio-economic development of the 3rd world and in this I know that UN is trying its best. There are millennium development goals, vast objectives but the sources to this contributed by the developed world. There is .7 % of the GDP which has been promised by the developed world but which is not being given by many.

Therefore, I think we have to contribute towards millennium development goals with all seriousness so that the oceans that I have spoken of start shrinking and the islands start expanding. First challenge was a regional challenge that I faced. The regional challenge was on Western border and Eastern borders. There is Afghanistan on our Western border. We have had conflict in Afghanistan since 1979 Soviet invasion. This continued for the ten long years with Pakistan in the lead role with all its fall out coming on Pakistan. Then after ten years every one left the scene and Pakistan was left high and dry into warfare in Afghanistan war lords killing each other and devastating their country. This was what was happening in the decade of 90s after the war warfare of decades of 80s. Mujahideen who were hold up in Afghanistan were coalesced into Al-Qaeda. They change their focus and direction and it further added fuel into already existing problems with the emergence of Taliban. With the financial support which these Mujahideen were getting was in rough figure of 20-30 thousand. They also started 2 dominating and dictating to Taliban. That was state which was persisted till 9/11. So it has been the state for 22 years of turmoil in Afghanistan and then there were four million refugees who came from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Pakistan has to fend against four million refugees with warfare, Al-Qaeda, Mujahideen and Taliban all inside in this boiling part. Now after 9/11 we have to change course. Undo whatever we did in the decade of 80s and that was what I confronted with. Undoing what we did in 1980s with Pakistan in the lead role and again Pakistan is in the lead role to undo what happened in the 80s. This was happening on the Western border till now.

We have always had tension with India on our Eastern border. We have fought three wars and number of skirmishes. I keep saying that I have dubious distinction of fighting two of the wars and directly or indirectly involve in all these skirmishes. I say that because of that I am eminently qualified to bring peace because I understand the ravages of war. Pakistan has always followed the strategy of minimum defensive deterrence against the threat we perceive mainly from the East. We have quantified this deterrence in terms of force and equipment levels and weapon levels and divided it into Army, Navy and Air Force on the conventional side but when there was a nuclear test in 1974 and missile test in early 90s and final nuclear test in 1998. Pakistan had to rectify the military imbalance that was created because our strategy of minimum defensive deterrence was disturbed. Therefore, we rectified the unconventional imbalance and we also went nuclear and produced missile. So if any one has to blame any one it was threat Pakistan faced ours were response to threat. Therefore, we still maintain the same strategy of minimum defensive deterrence but now in conventional and in unconventional mode. However, this was happening all this years since 1947 but then Kashmir freedom struggle erupted in 1989 and for 17 years on now it is still on. So one our Eastern border is warfare and on Western border is militancy. It all has a direct effect on the society and population of Pakistan. We are sentimentally and emotionally involve what is happening in Kashmir because it is a dispute which needs to be resolved and we are also involved what is happening in Afghanistan. This is what the society of Pakistan has suffered. Pakistani society was not this before 1979 and if any one thinks we are extremists we are moderates. This thing was not there. This is what happened to us after 1979 that we are in a state that we are but we are now correcting all that.

This was the external dimension of turbulence that Pakistan was suffering which I had to handle since 1999. Well external pressure was so much on our society, the domestic challenges were enormous. First of all a failed economy in 1999 I inherited and economy which was in free fall. We have almost been declared as a fail state or defaulted state. All our micro economic indicators were in total collapse. The nation was going under heavy and heavy debts and debts services. The nation was looted and plundered by the leaders themselves. The democracy in Pakistan was totally dysfunctional we had martial laws in past but I would not talk of them for the reason why they came about but from 1998-1999 when democracy was functioning in Pakistan, unfortunately the democracy state was that we changed PM four times or dismissed by the Presidents. Some times the Presidents who were put there by themselves the same parties. Three time Presidents changed, Supreme Court was assaulted, there was no freedom of speech and expression and there was no freedom of media. There was only one PTV which was state owned. Therefore, the nation really was in decline. There was poor governance at all level. Each and every corporation and all corporations was unfortunately public sector and govt was running them. We were all under default. They were all financially insolvent and they had debt and debt liabilities due to which Pakistan exchequer was hemorrhaging by about two billion dollars every year. There was no focus on the social factor on education health. It was in very very poor state. Poverty level was high and education was extremely low. Poverty and unemployment was continuously rising since 1947.

Then the last issue came after 9/11 for the complications. Firstly, terrorism got mixed with religion and I would like to explain how? Pakistani society is idly moderate. All of us sitting here and my delegation are all moderate and I haven’t selected them especially for their moderate credentials. They happened to be there and this is actually a society who so ever sitting here. This is vast majority. However there is a fringe extremist in the society. These extremists are those who divided into various organizations that trying to impose their will and thoughts on others. Then when terrorism came in Al-Qaeda came in with 3 all the attacks including the suicide attacks on me and we caught all of them. We realized that they operate in three tears. The master mind almost in variably of every action are these people of Al-Qaeda, non-Pakistani from many gulf countries, Arab countries, Uzbek, Chechens, and even Chinese, Malaysians but master minds are all non-Pakistani. They get a local Pakistani terrorist, finance him, equipped, trained him about explosive and this terrorist intrudes or penetrate into extremist bands of our religious organizations. He indoctrinates people to terrorist acts. Therefore, the people who are perpetrating terrorist acts are mere pawns. They are the leaves of the trees. The planer is the branch of the tree and master mind is the root of the tree. We went to the root because we thought we must eliminate the master minds and the planners. The executer means nothing. They won’t be there then. So that is what we are doing with that.

So far agriculture is concerned we are the fifth largest milk producing country in the world but there is no dairy product. We are asking Australia to help us in dairy products. It wants to bring a white revolution in Pakistan because we are the fifth largest milk producer. Why don’t we make cheese, yogurt, powder milk, and butter to export? We can easily do it but we are not organized. We will do it. Apart from that we have best fruit, wonderful vegetables but no processing and export the food without canning, tinning and without making any value addition. We have cotton but it was exported in its raw shape. We could have yarn textile and clothes and could have earned 10 % more but all in vain. Therefore, diary, food and fruit processing, and livestock which we have abundance but we are not doing anything because we are not organized. If we work in this sector it will bring more prosperity as it is coming but it will further added into it.

We are on the rise. We are proud of the nation and you must understand that we should have pride in the nation, we project our nation to our full, its positives, control the negatives or counter the negatives and I expect all you to counter negatives against our nation and your nation. The moment you leave the boundaries of Pakistan and borders of Pakistan you are only Pakistanis. You don’t belong to any political party or any group. Unfortunately we remain divided even abroad but I appeal to you don’t be divided”.

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