Posted by: Administrator | 4 April, 2007

Address to Nation 2nd January 2008

PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION ON 2ND JANUARY, 2008

My Pakistani Borthers and Sisters, Asalam-o-Alaikum!

The nation has faced a great tragedy. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has been martyred by the terrorists. I have condoled with her husband Asif Zardari, her sister Sanam Bhutto as well as her children. Once again, I offer my condolences to the bereaved family and pray to Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul in eternal peace.

The situation continued to deteriorate since her martyrdom. Conspiracy theories were hatched, allegations and counter allegations were made. Unfortunately, a situation of confusion and uncertainty was created which usually happens in Pakistan in such circumstances. This uncertainty has engulfed the whole country. Therefore, I felt it was imperative to address the nation and place the facts before it. I fully realize the anger, the grief and sorrow which prevails in the ranks of People’s Party particularly among my Sindhi brothers and sisters. I would like to state here that I am equally grieved. I value yours and the whole nation’s sentiments.

However, it is regrettable to note that at a time when the whole nation and specially the People’s Party was rightfully expressing their grief and anger, many gangsters and goons and some political elements exploited the situation and resorted to loot, plunder and devastation. This act caused unbearable losses to the people and the country. The daily wage workers and the poor people could not reach the place of their work and obviously, they have suffered a lot of trouble. The subversive elements burnt so many petrol pumps that the remaining ones were forced to be closed by their owners out of fear. Resultantly, all the busses, trucks, vehicles and taxis remained off the roads. Owing to the fear and non-availability of fuel, the petrol pumps remained shut. Similarly, Railways suffered huge losses; engines and bogies were burnt and even the railway tracks were dismantled at some places. The whole railway system was rendered non-operational. The trains and the passengers were stranded at various stations. We are making arrangements for their onward journey to their respective destinations. Under such a situation, doctors and nurses could not attend hospitals. Therefore, those who were sick and needed immediate medical attention suffered. Even the Edhi Centres of Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi were also attacked and ransacked. This is very much regrettable. Many houses and shops were burnt down. Shops, particularly the jewelery and ammunition shops were targeted. In the first place, shops were attacked, looted and then set ablaze. The banks were ransacked and put on fire. Apart from these incidents, some prisoners were let escape by attacking the prisons. Jails were broken which is particularly regrettable as the hundreds of escaped prisoners might be creating law and order situation in the country. Moreover, the election offices set up by the Election Commission, the polling stations and the equipment put up there were all destroyed. It put the Election Commission to confront a troublesome situation. I am told that some miscreants and subversive elements loaded with machine guns and rocket launchers have been roaming around the city roads. This occurred mostly in Sindh. The unfortunate aspect of the whole episode is that the political elements have played their “role” which is intolerable and deplorable. The businesses of those people have been targeted who were opposed to them. On the other hand, the businesses of their supporters have been spared. The total loss is being assessed and it is feared that the losses may run to the tune of over a hundred billion of rupees. We have deployed the Rangers and the Army for the protection of life and property. This deployment, in my view, should continue till elections rather even after the elections, for we shall not allow any one to disturb peace and law and order, and anyone who tries to do so till elections or beyond the elections shall be dealt with sternly. I have asked the Prime Minister to work out a compensation package for those who suffered financial and monetary losses so that the government may share their burden. The next issue which I want to address is the martyrdom of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto: how she was martyred, who did it, and secondly, I want to have an in-depth information of this incident and also wish to share this with the whole nation as it is imperative to resolve the confusion.

The progress we have made during the last seven/eight years including the developmen projects initiated in Sindh specially in rural areas, at grass root level, have, to a greater extent been destroyed during these two days. My brothers and sisters! Such a situation cannot be tolerated; we have to strictly deal with it and bring it to the end. It necessitates immediate action. The first step that I have taken is that I have asked the Prime Minister to constitute a Commission to evaluate the loss and identify the elements who inflicted losses and caused destruction. Here I also urge the media to visit Sindh and make estimates of the extent and nature of destruction in Sindh at the local level. I have come to know that unbelievable damage has been caused in Sindh. I have also asked the Prime Minister to hold those officials accountable particularly the senior ones who displayed negligence and failed to take immediate action against the culprits. Thirdly, FIRs and cases should be registered against the plunderers and the looters. Fourthly, the prisoners who have escaped from jails should be apprehended and sent to the prisons again. Lastly, all individuals, groups and elements displaying weapons of any kind should be arrested. We have also deployed the Rangers and the Army for the protection of life and property.

I request all the people and the media including the foreign media not to further confound this confusion.

Brothers & Sisters! I would like to say that since day one of the incident, a lot of footage, technical evidence and eye-witness accounts of the incident are coming forth. The fresh evidences necessitate expert analysis. Therefore, we have decided to request an investigation team of Scotland Yard from the U.K. And I am grateful to Prime Minister Gordon Brown for accepting my request. God willing, this investigation team will reach Pakistan very soon and help us in the probe. This team will fill in the gaps in our technical expertise and forensics and I hope that the investigation will be carried out successfully with the help of Scotland Yard which will remove all doubts and misgivings.

My Brothers and Sisters!

The third issue which I would like to address and share with you is the election date. The election date is very important and all kinds of views are being expressed. Whereas it is the task of the Election Commission to decide, it has been my personal desire to hold elections on January 8 without any delay. As I said, it is the responsibility of the Election Commission which has suffered so much in Sindh resulting in disruption of election process and made it impossible to hold elections on January 8. Therefore, the new date announced by the Election Commission is more appropriate and suitable.

My Brothers and Sisters, I want to reiterate that destruction and losses caused to the offices, rail, transport and the logistic systems as well as the law and order situation had impelled towards the postponement of the elections. The decision taken by the Election Commission is timely and appropriate. We have been assuring time and again that the elections would be held in a fair and transparent manner. But I have added another essential word that free, fair, transparent and “peaceful” elections would be held. By the grace of Allah Almighty, we would translate it into reality and we would do it. Earlier, it was my intention to avoid deployment of the Army because all sorts of accusations were being hurled at the Army. I would not accept it and would instead like to keep the Army out of these allegations. As I stated, the law and order situation and the destruction that took place in Sindh badly required the services of the Rangers and the Army which have already been deployed in Sindh and the entire country to maintain law and order and ensure holding of elections in a peaceful manner. These forces would be used before and even after the elections so as to strictly deal with such elements who disturb law and order. No agitation or riots would be allowed. It is my commitment to the nation. If there are any miscreants having bad intentions, they should refrain from such activities. Because, the Rangers and the lawenforcing agencies, the police and the Army would strictly deal with them.

I appeal to all Pakistani brothers and sisters to help in maintaining law and order in each province and discourage such elements who create law and order situation. This is the time for reconciliation and not confrontation. I urge the political parties to comprehend the gravity of the situation. It is imperative to rise above personal and political interests and realize that Pakistan comes first. Please do not aggravate the already difficult and tense situation. My brothers and sisters from people party and especially my brothers and sisters from Sindh! Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s mission was to promote democracy and struggle against terrorism. I want to assure you that my mission is exactly the same. I want to promote democracy and eliminate terrorism and God willing, my mission would continue. It is my conviction that Pakistan’s survival and development lies in this mission. God willing, a constitutional and democratic government will be formed after the elections. I am of the firm belief that the next democratic government would lead Pakistan on to the road of progress and prosperity. But we have to fight against terrorism and extremism as one nation with full force. I understand, if we failed to defeat terrorism, the future of Pakistan would be bleak.

I appeal to the people and the media to encourage and support the government, the Army and other law enforcing agencies including the Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary and the Levies in their efforts against the war on terror. The support of the whole nation to the security forces would enable them to combat and defeat extremism and terrorism. As far as terrorism is concerned, I want to point out two individuals namely Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan and Fazlulullah of Swat. They should be exposed by the media and the nation should launch a campaign against them. Their terrorism must be exposed because they are responsible for suicide bombing and losses to the innocent people. Instead of heroise them by giving space in the media, their lies should be exposed because the people are unable to differentiate between their lies and the reality and they start believing in their lies.

I appeal to the media to expose these people and launch a campaign against them. It will encourage the law enforcing agencies. We need to hit the root cause of terrorism. Because until and unless we reach the masterminds who recruit and indoctrinate suicide bombers, we cannot rid ourselves of this scourge. In this fight, the whole nation should get united and support the Army and the law-enforcement agencies. This alone ensures Pakistan’s solidarity, prosperity and development. These are the people who have twice attacked Mr. Sherpao. The last attempt was made by them on the Eid day. They attacked at the time of Eid prayer and about 55 to 60 innocent people were martyred. They also attacked a school bus in Kamra and martyred innocent children. They are also responsible for the martyrdom of Air Force personnel at Sargodha and attacking the ISI employees twice. I am sure the same people have martyred Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

My Pakistani brothers and sisters! I pray that Allah Almighty may guide us to the right path and He be the protector of Pakistan and all of us.

Long live Pakistan.

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