Let’s work towards a new Pakistan – President Alvi

President Arif Alvi, left, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, center, and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani listening to National Anthem before the President’s address to the Joint Session of the Parliament on Monday. (Photo courtesy: National Assembly)
Updated 17 September 2018

Let’s work towards a new Pakistan – President Alvi

  • Reiterates need to strengthen anti-graft institutions in first address to parliament
  • Voices support for measures introduced by PM Khan to strengthen economy

ISLAMABAD: Urging institutions to eradicate corruption, President Arif Alvi said he supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive, in comments made during his first address to the joint session of parliament, on Monday.
He said that Pakistan’s progress is marred by corruption which has led to an array of challenges and problems for the country. “The elections’ [results] have proven that people are tired of dishonesty and are looking for relief,” he said, urging the parliament to introduce measures to strengthen anti-graft state institutions.
Turning the spotlight on Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the international community, Dr. Alvi said that visits by dignitaries – such as the Information Minister of Saudi Arabia, foreign ministers of China, United States, Turkey and Iran – helped cement those ties further.
He also spoke at length and in support of the newly-formed government’s policies, urging people to embrace the changes introduced by the PM “to create a Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan)”.
President Alvi also touched upon a host of challenges confronting Pakistan – such as the water crisis in the country, loopholes in the educational system, lack of measures to empower women and better provision of health facilities --- suggesting several policies along the way to overcome the issues.
The address, while inspiring, was not without its share of drama — opposition members from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party staged a walkout, after being barred from speaking, ahead of the president’s speech.
The president was scheduled to speak on September 11, but the event got postponed, at the request of the opposition, following the death of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.
A dentist by profession, Dr. Alvi is a close ally of PM Khan and one of the founding members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. He was sworn in as the 13th president of Pakistan on September 9. 
In Pakistan’s parliamentary system, the president plays a largely ceremonial role, even though he is both the head of the state and the commander of the country’s military. 
In 2010, the parliament passed the 18th amendment in the constitution which transferred significant powers to the prime minister, doing away with the president’s authority to dissolve the parliament.

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.