ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday urged the political leadership to stand united and make concerted efforts to strengthen the accountability system, counter corruption and address the serious economic challenges by enforcing austerity and playing their part in providing social justice, health and education to the masses.
The president, in his maiden address to the joint sitting of the parliament after assuming the office, termed corruption an “ill that had badly affected the national economy and plunged the country in a serious debt trap.”
The present government, President Alvi said, had resolved to make a ‘Naya Pakistan’. “In my view, the concept of Naya Pakistan lies in promoting simplicity, discontinuation of unnecessary protocols and a corruption free system. We should keep in mind that we are a nation which is under the burden of debt,” he added.
The president said Pakistan was facing gigantic challenges, both at the domestic and international fronts and the biggest was a very weak economy. The country had been spending a major share of its resources on debt repayment.
“The balance of trade is also unfavourable. There is a huge gap in the quantum of our imports and exports. The circular debt has increased to Rs1,100 billion over the past few years and the value of rupee has depreciated sharply in recent months.”
The joint session, co-chaired by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, was attended by members from both the houses of the parliament, including Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In the galleries, Azad Jammu and Kashmir president and prime minister, governors, chief ministers, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and diplomats were present.
The session began at 4 pm where Prime Minister Imran Khan, members of the federal cabinet and parliament, chief ministers, governors and the ambassadors, diplomats, members of civil society and important personalities from different segments of life were present.
The session was the first formal session of the National Assembly (NA) after the presidential election. This session was previously scheduled for September 13 but was postponed due to the death of Kulsoom Nawaz, ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s wife.
Special passes were issued for the session as all entry and exit points were strictly monitored. Rangers along with the police were present to ensure foolproof security.
The president has also summoned separate sessions of the Senate and National Assembly on September 18 at 11 am and 10 am, respectively.
In the past, former president Mamnoon Hussain addressed the joint session of Parliament four times during his tenure, Asif Ali Zardari six times, whereas predecessor General (r) Pervez Musharaf addressed the session only once during his tenure of eight years and 10 months. Similarly, former presidents Ghulam Ishaq Khan and General Zia ul Haq addressed the Parliament five times.