Pakistan better be promoted as geo-economic hub, not mere as geo-strategic point: Alvi

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday said there was no threat to the government or democracy, and he was confident that the present democratic set-up would complete its mandated term.

“I don’t see any threat to the government or democracy in the country. I am confident that the present government will complete its term like the two previous regimes,” he said when asked to comment on the current political situation in the country in an interview with a private television channel (Ary News).

The president, in response to a question about the opposition’s complaints about the government, said the opposition’s complaints were not a matter of concern, however, “talking about the country’s institutions in such a way and criticizing them is unfortunate.”

“Because it is my country and these are our institutions. And degrading our institutions is unfair,” he remarked.

The president further said there should not be any efforts to malign the state institutions.

When asked as what role he could play in engaging the opposition parties, President Alvi said he could not interfere in the political matters of government and opposition, but in the national and federal issues such as health etc.

To a question about legislative business, he said the ordinances issued by the present government were far less in number than the ones issued by the previous Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz regimes.

He maintained that the Constitution provided the government with a space to issue ordinances for essential legislative requirements for six months.

The president, however, was confident that the government’s legislative business in the parliament would get boost after the Senate elections in March next.

To another question, he said all the institutions in the country were against corruption. “Even all the political parties on-paper are against corruption,” he added.

The president appreciated the judiciary for their efforts against corruption. “I salute the judiciary for their efforts to eliminate corruption,” he remarked.

About corruption and accountability, President Alvi said though the accused in some criminal cases were considered innocent until proven guilty, but in financial crimes like “assets beyond means” the situation was different and the accused have to prove their innocence.

He in that respect also referred to the laws of various countries, including the “Unexplained Wealth Order” of the United Kingdom, and similar legislation in the Switzerland that bound the accused to prove his innocence.

The president said the Islamic laws also required the accused to prove his innocence in financial matters. Accountability was the part of any government, he added.

To a question, he, however, added that there should be an across the board accountability.

To a question, the president said he was highly satisfied over the government’s performance, citing the reduced inflation, successful turnaround of COIV-19, besides ensuring economic activity even despite the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the stock exchange index had reflected the businessmen and investors’ confidence in the government’s economic policies.

He lauded the discipline and cooperation by the people, media and Ulema during the COVID-19, but also advised the masses not to give up the precautions.

Asked about the government’s decisions to bring PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif back, he said he had gone abroad on medical grounds citing the platelets issue.

However, he said he did not know whether he remained admitted in any hospital abroad or not, and urged the opposition leader to face the court case and fulfill the commitments made with the courts.

He said the maligning of national institutions by any Pakistani sitting abroad would appease the enemy country like India. He recalled that the British government delayed action against MQM leader Altaf Hussain after the government complained against his anti-Pakistan statements and involvement in killings in Karachi.

The president urged the media to highlight the positive image and developments in Pakistan like the success against COVID-19 and economic growth.

About the ban by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on airing Nawaz Sharif’s speeches on local television channels, the president said it was a subject to be decided by the government.

Commenting on the ongoing debate regarding Gilgit-Baltistan, he said the issue must not be seen through political prism rather all the political parties must show unity to resolve the matter at the earliest.

The president, who also wore pink ribbon as well as the host anchor as part of the month-long awareness drive on breast cancer, called for the media’s role to teach men and women to self-examine their chest by palpating their breasts on monthly basis.

He said contrary to 98 percent survival rate in the world, it stood between 40 to 50 percent in Pakistan which could be improved through early diagnosis.

Citing the Islamic teachings as well as medical research, the president said the breast cancer could also be prevented through breast feeding the babies, which could also address the issue of children’s stunted growth.

Asked to comment on the proposals for chemical castration or death sentence for the rapists, President Alvi said the chemical castration alone was not a solution. It was not a one-time procedure rather required life-long administration of medicines to the culprits. The issue needed a long term solution, which should be worked out by both the Parliament as well as the Council of Islamic Ideology.

About the Federal Government’s Rs 1,100 billion development package for Karachi, he hoped that it would help resolve the development issues like completion of K-4, Karachi Circular Railway, water supply, garbage collection and sewage projects.

He, however, urged both the PPP and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf not to compromise Karachi’s development amidst political differences rather show unity for betterment of its people.