I don’t believe in generating controversy with any institution, says president

LAHORE, Aug 12 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi has said that as the president, all institutions of the country are respectable and dear to him, and he does not believe in generating any controversy with any of them.

While talking to selected media persons at Governor’s House here on Friday, he said that the purpose of his media interaction was to get a qualified input from them on the prevailing political and economic situation and discuss possible ways and means to bring down the political temperatures in the country.

He said that he was given the responsibility by the people of Pakistan as the President of Pakistan, which bestowed on him some important constitutional responsibilities. As the president of the country, all institutions were respectable and dear to him and he did not believe in generating any controversy with them, however, he added, there were many avenues where improvement could be made through a consultative process.

He said that there was a need to initiate a consultative process to bring all stakeholders on the table to listen to each other.

However, the constitutional role of the president did not allow him officially to reach out to the stakeholders. He said that it was the primary responsibility of the Executive and the opposition in the Assembly and outside the Assembly and the relevant institutions to deliberate on the ways to defuse polarization.

While agreeing with the views of a journalist, he said that the political parties and stakeholders needed to sit together and chalk out an agreed upon way forward, especially with regard to holding free and fair elections in the country and developing a charter of economy that could help ease out the current political polarization and economic situation.

The president further said that he believed that corruption was a major factor in the backwardness of any country. He said one of the best ways to counter corruption was to make all financial transactions through formal banking channels, especially by political parties, while receiving and managing donations.

Replying to another question, he said stakeholders within Pakistan should only be involved in resolving the issues confronting the country without any involvement of any foreign persons or country.

While replying to a question he said that social media was now here to stay “but unfortunately, we are not used to it and that it has become difficult to control it”.

Therefore, all those concerned need to focus on the social media and on what is happening on it. He said that 90% of the social media was good and provides lots of information while all concerned should learn to deal with the remaining 10% by filtering out fake news and hearsay.

He further said that he had a very cordial relationship with the existing government and he accorded timely approval to all the summaries except four summaries which were delayed.

He said that he was the main proponent of the EVMs [Electronic Voting Machines] for long, even during the governments of the Pakistan People’s Party and Mian Nawaz Sharif. It was he who convinced the PTI for the use of technology in elections.

The EVMs provide simple solutions to conduct free and fair elections. He emphasised the need for consensus on the use of technology in the election process which, he said, would strengthen the democratic process in the country.

While replying to a question, he said that through Mufti Taqi Usmani, he had offered the Afghan government to provide distance learning and virtual mode of education to the Afghan students, especially female students.

He said that Mufti Taqi Usmani, during his talks with Pakistani Taliban, told them that out of all constitutions of the Muslim world, the closest constitution to Islam was the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

While commenting on the recent reports of Taliban resurgence in certain parts of the country, he said that he did not have any opinion on it, as according to reports the negotiations were under way.

He said that he was of the opinion that any such negotiations should be mandated by the parliament and might be pursued in confidence to reach some amicable outcome. The result should be reported back to the parliament before making them public.