Lahore: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the recent foreign policy initiatives namely Pak-Iran gas pipeline and entrusting Gawadar Port to China were aimed at securing and guaranteeing the prosperity of our future generations.
This he said while during a dinner hosted by the President at Bilawal House, Lahore, tonight.
Amongst other who attend the reception were Governor Punjab Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmud, Minister for information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Petroluem Dr. Asim Hussain, MOS for Information and Broadcasting Syed Samsam Ali Bukhari, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar and Secretary Information Agha Nadeem.
Briefing about President’s interaction with the media persons Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that during the meeting host of issues ranging from domestic issues to the
foreign policy issue were candidly discussed and the President answered various questions raised by the media persons.
About the Pak-Iran pipeline and his recent visit to Iran, the President said that the during his recent visit to Iran, he met his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenaei and both the sides agreed upon the need for expeditious completion of all mega projects including the Pak-Iran Gas pipe line which he said will not only help the country in mitigating the gas and energy shortages faced by the country but would go a long way to benefit the coming generations of Pakistan
The President recalled that the idea to develop the gas pipe line was first worked out in 1994 but was shelved by the next government. He said that he is proud to announce that credit of signing this historic
agreement goes to current government which he said believes in serving the people and bring about qualitative change in their quality of life.
He said the Pak-Iran gas pipe line project will be formally inaugurated on 11th March in Iranian city of Chahbahar, where dignitaries from regional countries have also been invited. He said that he will take along a group of journalists with him to witness the ceremony.
About the reported objections emanating from some quarters, the President said Pakistan was a sovereign country and it was acting in its national interest. He expressed the hope that with the passage of time the critics will appreciate Pakistan’s growing energy requirement and the need for Pak-Iran gas pipeline.
The President said that Pakistan did not want confrontation with anyone and firmly believes that negotiations and dialogue were the best tool to create greater understandings of the issues.
Spokesperson said that the President also referred transfer of Gwadar port operation from Singapore to China as another project of great economic value and said that with this transfer Gwadar port will
become hub of trade and commence activities in the region and beyond and will bring progress and prosperity to the people of Balochistan and economic gains for rest of the country.
Replying to a question as to why the development of Gawadar Port was entrusted to China at this point of time, the President said that the Government did not waste any time and went ahead with the project as soon as the Court’s stay order was vacated in this case.
The President said that Pakistan has a potential to enhance its exports to US$ 200 Billion mark from its existing value of less than US$ 25 billion. He said for this objective the manufacturers would require more energy.
On domestic issues, the President said by the grace of Almighty the current democratic government was about to complete its five years and a transition from democracy to democracy would take place. The President said that the credit for this goes to all the political parties, the civil society and democracy loving elements that supported democracy despite predictions of gloom & doom. He said that the path
shown by the Constitution would be followed for setting up of the care taker government and holding of free and fair elections.
The President said that Government has provided all possible facilitation and enabling environment to the media to flourish in the country and perform its watch dog function without any fear or intimidation. He said that the record of this government in upholding freedoms, plurality of views and tolerance for dissent speak for itself and manifests government’s resolve to ensure media freedom in the country.
On this occasion the President also recounted various achievements of the government including empowering the Parliament, strengthening of democratic institutions and other far-reaching measures such as self-rule to the people of Gilgit Baltistan, resolving the issue of distribution of resources between the federation and the provinces through 7th National Finance Commission Award, restoring the 1973 Constitution, reclaiming Swat and Malakand from the militants, fighting head on terrorists and extremists and empowering the parliament in helping frame security and foreign policies.
He said that government is fully alive to the hardship faced by the people on account of shortage of energy and power. The President said that number of projects including generation of electricity by coal, hydro, wind and nuclear are at various stages and on their completion shortage of power in the country will greatly reduced.
The later part of the meeting turned into an interactive session where host of issues were discussed and the President answered questions of the media persons.