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.


Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

Updated 15 September 2019

Protests mount in Indian-administered Kashmir clampdown

  • Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region
  • New Delhi last month to revoked the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status

SRINAGAR, India: Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, a senior government source said.
Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi’s controversial decision last month to revoke the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status.
Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of Internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India — mostly in the largest city Srinagar — have been constant, the source said late Saturday.
Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.
Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.
Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.
So far more than 4,100 people — including 170 local political leaders — have been detained across the valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the official said.
It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.
Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.
The relatives of four of those killed said they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths.
The latest updates came as police said Thursday that three men suspected of belonging to a Pakistan-based militant organization were arrested while transporting weapons and ammunition toward Indian Kashmir.
Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, which was split between the two countries in 1947.
India deployed extra troops ahead of the August 5 decision to reinforce some 500,000 soldiers already stationed in the region, one of the most militarized places on the planet.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday promised to raise the decision to strip Indian Kashmir of its autonomy at the upcoming UN General Assembly session.