THE NATION, 09th SEPTEMBER 2013:-
9th September 2008 was a date in Pakistan’s political history when a political figure was elected as President of the country. He, with his policy of “Democracy is the best revenge”, not only ousted a dictator from power but also laid foundation of democratic stability in the country. His relentless struggle during last 5 years showed his willingness and determination to hold the nation together.
On 27th December 2007, our beloved leader Benazir Bhutto was martyred in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi but Mr Zardari never talked about revenge. He declared “Pakistan Khappay” and with his acts he proved these words. He compromised and sacrificed for the sake of country and the nation.
He has been the first democratically elected President who is completing his term of office and during this period has managed to address 6 joint sessions of parliament and worked with 4 different Prime Ministers, including Nawaz Sharif.
His determination and self esteem enabled him to serve the nation despite all odds and conspiracies. He for the sake of sustainable democracy and democratic institutions, decided to transfer his powers to the parliament through 18th Amendment. He opted to let go his Authority to dissolve parliament, dismiss Prime Minister and appoint Services Chiefs, only in larger national interest.
With the arrival of Zardari at Presidency 5 years ago, an era of reconciliation, tolerance, constitutional reformation and economic activity started, which would end on September 8. It was a period during which Presidency become the symbol of unity and dignity of the nation. Its incumbent never let his countrymen down and always worked and acted according to the aspirations of Pakistanis.
The approval of 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award was also a significant achievement of President Zardari’s time in office. Provinces become financially stable with this award. An outstanding gain on economic front was rise in exports, which eclipsed $24 billion and foreign exchange reserves reached all time high i.e. $17 billion. Karachi Stock Exchange also touched new heights, reaching the level of 22000 points.
Interest rates were also reduced from 17pc in 2008 to 9pc in 2013. The rural economy was increased from Rs.50 billion in 2008 to Rs. 800 billion in 2013. It all stamp on a sound economic policy of the previous government. Introduction of Aghaz-e-Huqooq-Balochistan package, empowerment of Gilgit Baltistan, enforcement of Nizam-e-Adl regulation in Malakand Division, distribution of Rs 70 billion among 75 lac poor families through Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and 158pc increase in the salaries, regularisation and reinstatement of thousand of government servants during last 5 years, also indicates last democratic government’s resolve towards masses.
Signing of agreements of Gwadar Port with China and gas pipeline with Iran and addition of 360MW electricity in system also shows the previous government’s commitment for accelerated economic development. Peace with neighboring countries has always been priority of Zardari.
Zardari has shown to the world that his political vision and wisdom is second to none. I salute Mr President on behalf of whole nation.
The writer is an MPA of Sindh Assembly.