Posted by: Administrator | 12 October, 2006

President address at Luncheon Reception hosted by Australian PM

15 June 2005, Australia

His Excellency PM John Howard, Mrs. Janet Howard, Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen First of all Mr. PM and the leader of opposition you have been extremely gracious and generous with your remarks on me and I always say that when I hear such remarks it puts me under so much pressure, to deliver on what ever one is saying. We are living in such turbulent world and a turbulent region right since 1989 with the disintegration of Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, we saw the emergence of so many countries of the Central Asian Republics. All, now, looking southwards for access to world. Then, we had the unfortunate reality of 9/11 and operations in Afghanistan with the turbulence that has taken place there, if you see the history of what has happened in Afghanistan from 1979 onwards, with Soviet invasion in Afghanistan and Pakistan, joining the West in lead role to launch a freedom struggle or Jihad in Afghanistan with Mujahideen coming from all over the Muslim Countries and fighting the Soviets. Then 90s when Pakistan stood alone to fend for 4 million refugees who had come from Afghanistan from Pakistan. All those Mujahideen who were brought there were in numbers about 20-30 thousands, from all over the world, especially Arab world hold up there inside Afghanistan and then coalescing in to Al- Qaeda. They were exerting their own dynamics into Pakistan, Afghanistan and even, strengthening their influence in Pakistan. We emerged in mid 90s. All this have a direct impact and bearing on Pakistan and specially in the devastating decades of 90s. These people came into our cities and mountains of Pakistan.

We have to defend our country, ensure the security of our country against this force. More than that, if you see this region, on our Western border is Iran and not far beyond is Iraq, Israel and Palestine. Then, Turbulent Middle East has impact on us. Our relation with India on our East, the Kashmir struggle started in 1989 and today, after 17 years, still goes on. There are sentimental and emotional attachments of people of Pakistan with Kashmir struggle. It has direct fall out on Pakistan. So, the turbulence this region has seen ever since 1979 has a direct impact on our society and on the people of Pakistan. This has to be dealt with now. On the side, what we did in 80s in encouraging Jihad and Mujahideen to fight the Soviets have to be undone. What we did in the 80’s was the demand of that hour. We have the strength of our strategic location. We live in an area where we happened to be in focus. If you see this region of Gulf, Middle East and Central Asian Republics, all are looking for the access to the world. At the Western region of the China, which is developing very fast today, are looking for an access – in roads or out roads – into the world. If we see the rapprochement going on with India and if you see the complexity of the region, Pakistan happens to be the hub of the entire region. Any kind of trade or commercial activity with in this region is not possible without the inclusion of Pakistan. Therefore, I would like to say while we live in the turbulent world with all its pressure on us, we have our own strengths to be exploited, gained and converted in to positives and that is exactly what we are doing. Other than these external factors, internally Pakistan’s economic conditions were dismal. Our all social indicators were dismal. Governance was not functioning but malfunctioning. Democracy was dysfunctional. So, economy was going down. We had to revive the economy. We had to bring good governance, internally. We had to avoid external pressures. We had to normalize our relations on east and we have to fend against all the turmoil that was coming from Afghanistan in form of Al-Qaeda, Taliban, etc. But may I say, there is resilience in people of Pakistan which I understand, what I understand is that people of Pakistan are positive. They look for governance; they look for leadership which was unfortunately denied tothem in the past. People of Pakistan are most hard working, most industrious and they perform. What they lack is direction and that direction had to be given to them to perform. I am very glad to say that entire population of Pakistan is with me and encourage me on what ever I am saying. I know that the vast majority is with me, other than any opposition or any extremist that you may be hearing here and there, in Pakistan. We are following a policy to bring harmony in to our region. We are following a policy of economic development and policy of poverty alleviation in Pakistan for the prosperity and well being of Pakistan that is what my policies and attempts have been in the last seven years, in all its dimensions. We are fighting Al- Qaeda and we are meeting successes. We have fought them in cities. We have apprehended and deported more than 700. All the major operatives have been arrested by us in Pakistan. We are fighting them in mountains in which 70000 troops are involved. I have lost 250 of my men that is the price Pakistan has paid for fighting against Al-Qaeda. So, any aspersion that one hears, here and there in the world, against Pakistan disappoints me certainly. I am very glad, with my meeting with the PM and I would be remiss if I didn’t say and reciprocate what the gracious remarks he has given me and here is PM who, I always knew and heard of, but never met him in the past, is a forth right, straight forward and bold person. Today, I may say Mr. PM, I would repeat that I find you exactly what I thought you will be. You are the most understanding. Your understanding of what our problems are, what our requirements are and you very gracious acceptance of all these encourages us. It gives me strength to perform better. It reinforces my desire to interact with you, with Australia in a more dynamic way in the future because I know there are so many mutual interests. We have so much to learn from Australia. Please accept my 2 gratitude for your giving off 500 scholarships in 5 years to Pakistan. The immediate reaction you have shown to us. I know the education Minister and Chairman of Higher Education is the happiest man today. We are extremely grateful to you for this immediate response. We are trying to harmonize with India and we are moving very successfully because I think the future of South Asia depends on the improved relation of India and Pakistan. South Asia is not cooperating with in itself because of the conflict of the two bigger countries of South Asia but now we are moving towards a rapprochement and there is a desire in the leadership and people of India and Pakistan to resolve disputes. I am very glad at that. Other than this region we realized when I attended numbers of economic forums that while East Asia, South East Asia, and North East Asia, China and with Australia are cooperating economically in the region but our region is out of the loop because of conflict and tension. Therefore, we have a desire in Pakistan to reach out. First of all, carry out intraregional cooperation, then an inter-regional cooperation to extend towards east. When we look at east we find Australia certainly as a country with which, we ought to be doing business. I don’t know why no leader ever came to Australia before but it says that it is better late than never. I would like to end by saying that we have a desire to improve and enhance our cooperation politically, diplomatically and economically. We have a desire to foster much stronger relations with you. We have so much to learn because we are a country which is 1/10th your size. We look forward to excellent relations with you Mr. PM and may I close by inviting you and your wife to Pakistan. Please do us the honor of coming so that at least we have an opportunity to reciprocate the warmth, cordiality and hospitality that you have shown towards us and gracious gestures of yours. My visit here is most profitable, most gainful for the country and all you have said about myself too.

Thank you very much Mr. PM I will remember my visit.

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