Don’t mistake our desire and efforts for peace as weakness, President Arif Alvi said, while referring to the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan.
He was speaking at a joint parliamentary session called at the beginning of the second parliamentary year of the National Assembly under the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government on Thursday. The session started off with the National Anthem and a prayer.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, the chiefs of the navy and air force, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee attended the session.
The president, amid anti-government chants from the opposition benches, emphasised on the need for stable democracy in the country.
He spoke at length over India’s atrocities in Kashmir and narrated Pakistan’s stance and efforts made so far to call the attention of the international community to the human rights violations in Kashmir.
He said it was a big accomplishment for Pakistan that the UNSC held a session on the issue after more than 50 years, despite India trying its best to prevent it from happening.
President Alvi thanked the friendly countries that supported Pakistan’s stance over the Kashmir conflict, especially China. “Pakistan is with its Kashmiri brethren. We will continue to extend moral support,” he said, adding that India’s illegal actions have threatened peace in the region.
He then went on to highlight the one-year performance of the PTI government.
The government has had to take difficult decisions in the 2019-20 budget because of the problems faced by the country, he said, adding that FBR needs more resources and taxpayers should be facilitated.
He said the primary purpose of the government is to make Pakistan a welfare state.
No country can progress without the development of the education sector, he said.
Pakistan’s youth population is one of the highest in Asia, he said, adding that the future of the country is in their hands.
Controlling the population explosion
Dr Alvi warned the government to pay instant attention to the population “explosion” and create public awareness about it by utilising all available resources.
He said this was a problem and deserved the government’s immediate attention as it constrained national resources.
The public should be sensitised about the adverse effects of population growth through the media, he said, adding that religious scholars, political and social leaders as well as the civil society should be included in the awareness campaign.
Countering fake news
He urged the government to formulate a comprehensive and effective policy on social media to counter fake news and disinformation to give real news proper coverage.
“I would like that the government formulate a comprehensive and effective policy regarding social media, so that fake news, disinformation, and misinformation can be countered and real news can be given proper coverage,” the president said in his address.
‘Biggest mistake was to get involved in others’ wars’
Pakistan’s biggest political mistake was to get involved in others’ wars, said the president, stressing that major decisions needed to be made in the national interest.
He blamed certain bad decisions in the past that incurred “the curse of terrorism” to the country.
The president mentioned that giving refuge to millions of Afghans was an unprecedented example of hospitality and generosity in the world, however, it adversely impacted Pakistan’s economy.