Posted by: Administrator | 15 October, 2006

President at Punjab Students Convention 2004

2004 – President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that Pakistan wants to become a modern state, and not a Westernized state, which is another shade of extremism.

He said that Pakistan rejected extremism and called for correcting a wrong perception about Pakistan being an extremist state, projecting its moderate culture through electronic and print media. “We must reject extremism and Westernization and develop a moderate culture of both extremes,” he added.

The president said it was unfortunate that extremists had dominated the country and people living abroad perceived Pakistan as an extremist country. However, he said, those who visited Pakistan found the situation altogether different.

The president was speaking at the Punjab Students Convention-2004, organized by the Punjab government at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Friday. Students from different universities of the province spoke on four given themes.

Referring to political activities on the campus, Gen Musharraf asserted that there should be no politics in universities and political parties should follow this principle. Political parties should let the universities develop academically and physically. “No political party should be allowed to promote its politics in any university in the country.”

The president said that educational standards were ruined when students indulged in political activities instead of pursuing their academic goals. Acknowledging the criticism that the country’s relations should not be confined to just one country, he said besides the US, Pakistan had the strongest bonds with China and good relations with other countries.

Terming the world inter-dependent, the president said every country was dependent on other countries, politically, socially, educationally and culturally. This inter-dependence should continue, but people must guard their sovereignty, he said. He said the IMF used to assert its policies when it was giving loans to the country. Now, he said, the situation had changed and Pakistan was out of its shackles because Pakistan did not need any financial assistance from any country. This depicts the sovereignty and the real authority of a country. “We should become givers and not takers,” he added.

Still, Gen Musharraf said, no country could become absolutely sovereign because each country was dependent on others. However, he stressed that this dependence should be minimum. The president said that relations among countries were just deals of national interests. He stressed that people should feel proud of being Pakistanis and promote the name of Pakistan. Gen Musharraf reiterated that Pakistan must come first and nobody should have any misgivings in this regard.

Islam, he said, was the matter of faith for every Muslim and Pakistan came first with regard to all other things. He said a nation’s power could be gauged from its population base as well as the quality of its manpower. Pakistan has a large population base but needs to strengthen the quality of its human resources. Referring to Pakistan’s weaknesses in health and education sectors, the president said that progress in both the sectors would improve the quality of its human resources.

Claiming that in 1999 when he took over power, the then government had no strategy to pursue its goals, Gen Musharraf said that his government worked day and night and brought about improvement in the quality of education imparted in universities as well as at primary and secondary levels.

He said Pakistan’s literacy rate of 48 per cent was also quite low. Those studying in universities were getting education up to the PhD level without any orientation, he observed. The president said the situation in universities was bleak and even top Pakistani universities stood nowhere in the list of good academic institutions of the world. In this situation, he said, his government gave a vision of developing technical education to ensure that those getting degrees should get respectable jobs.

At present, he said, there were lots of jobs in the construction sector. He said the government was also trying to motivate the Wafaqul Madaris to bring their one million students to the mainstream education so that they could explore opportunities to become doctors, engineers and enter other fields, including the armed forces.

Referring to the government’s resolve to improve the education sector, Gen Musharraf said that development and non-development grants for educational institutions had been enhanced from Rs800 million to Rs9.1 billion (900 per cent increase) and from Rs3.4 billion to Rs7 billion (over 100 per cent increase) over the past five years. He announced that the funds would now be enhanced by 50 per cent every year.

Stressing development in science and technology for eventual growth in industrial and technological sectors, the president said the government had increased the annual grant from Rs180 million to Rs6 billion per year (3,500 per cent increase). The president said that there was a need to establish centres of excellence for the promotion of education in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) member states. Stating that the country had resources and potential, he said Pakistan was now rising and attaining its due status as a nuclear nation. Earlier, Pakistan could not succeed because rulers’ intentions were not good, he observed. Appreciating students’ speeches, Gen Musharraf said that whatever they said about the Quaid-i-Azam and Islamic ideology was excellent, but the problem lay in action.

The president also stressed that students should learn to submit to the authority for developing integration at all levels. Acknowledging dynamism and aggressiveness of the people in Pakistan, he said that ultimately one had to accept someone’s authority, otherwise he would be dissipated.

Later, the president presented certificates and cash prizes to speakers. He announced cash prizes of Rs25,000 for each speech he listened to and Rs10,000 each for speakers who had been short-listed but could not get chance to speak. Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool also spoke on the occasion. Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, HEC Chairman Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rehman and Punjab Education Minister Mian Imran Masood were also present on the occasion.

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