Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf
(THE NATION) — Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has expressed confidence that Pak-Saudi ties will further flourish in result of his visit to the Kingdom.
He was addressing Pakistani community living in Jeddah on Monday.
The Prime Minister said both the countries have deep routed and strong brotherly ties which have been further deepen by the passage of time. He said Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan in its difficult times and stood by it. He said the both the countries have common stand on almost all regional and international issues.
Raja Pervez Ashraf referring Pakistani politics said the PPP-led Government is following the vision of its Shaheed leaders for ensuring a progressive and prosperous Pakistan. He said democracy is getting stronger in Pakistan and it is for the first time that the elected Government has presented five consecutive budgets.
The Prime Minister urged Pakistani community living in Saudi Arabia to pay their due role in further boosting Pak-Saudi relations in various fields.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) believed in coming into power through democratic process and appointment of a consensus Chief Election Commission is a great contribution of the party.
The Prime Minister said with the support from its allies, the PPP government has presented five budgets and now entering into the election process. The Prime Minister said the PPP has a clear thinking that it will came to power only with the support of masses and not with the support of any dictator. He said it was the credit of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that he brought out the politics from the drawing rooms to the doorsteps of the masses.
Referring to the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner, the Prime Minister said it was the credit of the PPP to appoint a consensus candidate even agreed to the name given by the opposition. He urged the political parties to present their programmes and let the people to decide.
The Prime Minister said Shaheed Bhutto took out the politics to the masses adding if Jannat is under the feet of mother then politics is under the feet of masses. He urged the expatriates and other Pakistanis living in different countries to bring investment to Pakistan for different projects of power generation especially in solar energy to overcome energy crisis in the country. He assured that the present government will provide maximum protection to the foreign investment in all the fields especially in energy sector and had taken a number of investment friendly policies in this regard.
The Prime Minister appreciating the contribution of the expatriates through their remittances, hoped that they will also come forward to help the country in resolving the energy crisis. He said these 1.5 million Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia are playing a positive contribution in economic activities of Pakistan. He said the PPP has been making sincere efforts to give right of vote to these expatriates, but there is politics going on in this regard. He regretted that expatriates have not been allowed to contest elections.
He said it was his wish that after becoming Prime Minister his first visit should be to Saudi Arabia as it is the brother country and most trustworthy and loyal friend of Pakistan that always helped Pakistan in all difficult circumstances. He said either it is flood or earthquake, the Saudi government and people played a role that will be remembered in the hearts of the people of Pakistan.
The Prime Minister said performing Umrah is a blessing of God for him. He said it was a great responsibility given to him by the allies by electing a worker as prime minister, so he came here to seek blessing of the Almighty Allah to give him courage to fulfill this responsibility.
He said he also thankful to the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who gave him time to meet him today. He said the King has great love for Pakistan and remained with Pakistan and its people in all difficult circumstances. He said Pak-Saudi relations are very strong based on love, affection and care for each other and hoped that this relationship would be further strengthened in future.
He said over 15 lakh Pakistanis here had proved an example of great ambassador of Pakistan that will be remembered forever. He said the zeal and dedication of these Pakistanis will never forget when they extended support to the people of Pakistan in floods and earthquake. He said the Saudi Arabia is second home for Pakistani adding “we feel comfort and peace here.”
The Prime Minister said hardship of Pakistanis working here in Saudi Arabia will further strengthen relations of two countries.
Raja Pervez Ashraf said he is a worker of PPP and proud on it and feel satisfaction on this gesture. He said it is the credit of the PPP that a worker is Prime Minister of Pakistan. He said he still remember many faces with whom he struggled for democracy and continued political struggle.
He said PPP is a name of philosophy and it a deep sea, no one can image its strong and effective relationship with the middle and lower middle class people. “Its my believe that without empowering middle class and lower middles class the country can not make progress and the PPP always represent this party,” he added.
The Prime Minister said, “It is now our responsibility that the middle class, which has all the qualities, could play its due role in the progress and prosperity of the country.”
The Prime Minister said the PPP having 124 votes in the National Assembly could not made government but need 171 and with the support of its allies the government has successfully gave five budgets. He said its a political way that have sacrifices of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto to carry forward the message of democracy by the present government.
Referring to the reconciliation policy adopted by Benazir Bhutto, the Prime Minister said it is the credit of the PPP that despite lack of required strength of votes, the PPP completing its tenures with positive political thinking. He said the PPP when came to power the government even did not had the money to import wheat but now the country has sufficient wheat and even can export it that was possible due to positive policies of the PPP.
The Prime Minister said dictator always snatch powers of the parliament but President Asif Ali Zardari handed over these powers to the parliament voluntarily only to improve the respect, sovereignty of the parliament. He said the PPP has been playing the role a united force to keep the four provinces intact therefore, the Benazir Bhutto was called strengthening force.
Referring to Salala incident, the Prime Minister said NATO, having 50 countries, but Pakistan did not compromise on principles and only opened the Ground Lines of Communication from Pakistan in accordance with the recommendations of the parliament and did not open NATO supply for money. He said, “We want that Pakistan be a facilitator in the withdrawal of NATO forces by 2014 and wants an independent Afghanistan.”
On the issue of electricity shortage, he said, the government is working on it and power shortage has been reduced. He said solution to shortage of power generation and improving law and order situation in Balochistan are the two top priorities of the present government.
Former Federal Minister Chaudhry Shahbaz was also present on this occasion. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khurshid Shah speaking on the occasion said the feelings among the Pakistanis especially living in Saudi Arabia is a great asset of the country.
He said these Pakistanis always helped Pakistan in need of hour to their
brothers living in Pakistan. He said its a great contribution of the Pakistanis that their remittances has been increased to four billion dollars and they deserved credit for this contribution.
The Minister said parliament is an independent institution to change the legal process as it is the real source of strength for all the institutions. He said this parliament has done a number of steps in the last four years despite difficult circumstances, passed acts and these will be remembered forever. He said after Bhutto, this parliament made such progress. He said the parliament is the supreme institution and respect to all other institutions. He said sitting prime minister appeared before the Supreme Court even he got sentence.
Khurshid Shah said with giving respect to the institutions, the name of the country will be respected. He said the Prime Minister always wanted to respect all the institutions and committed to the rule of constitution. He said in the past there were laws to continue and support the chair of the prime ministership, but this government made amendments only to strengthen the institutions.
He said constitutional and general judiciary were to be separated but due to need of the hour, the government did not take such decision to show the gesture that the government has full respect for the judiciary.
The Minister said the President Zardari said he handed over his powers to the elected parliament. He said next turn will be of people. He said the PPP will get the support of the masses on the basis of its performance.
The President made the parliament stronger and even made a person as Chief Election Commissioner whose name was proposed by the opposition. Its a strange incident in democratic government where proposal of opposition was accepted, he added.
Khurshid Shah said now opposition has lost support as they could not use the appointment of CEC for their political benefit.
President Pakistan Peoples Community, Jeddah, Riaz Bukhari, in his welcome address congratulated the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on being elected as prime minister and added that it was a great credit of the PPP that a worker has been elected as Chief Executive of the country. He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has very strong relations. He also congratulated the Prime Minister for performing Umrah and visiting Madina Munawara.
Presenting some of the problems of the community, he said, the children of the community need better educational facilities and government of Pakistan should support in this regard. He also demanded 100 pages passport for the Pakistanis living here in Saudi Arabia. He asked the Prime Minister provide legal assistance to the Pakistanis presently in different jails.
He said the Pakistanis living here sent maximum remittances therefore, they should be given more incentives.
Earlier the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was accorded warm welcome by the workers of Pakistan Peoples Party when he arrived at the hotel to address the function. A large number of PPP workers raised slogans in favour of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Prime Minister.
The reception was also attended by Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Muhammad Naeem Khan, Consul General in Jeddah Abdul Saleh khan and a large number of Pakistanis living in Jeddah and adjoining areas. (*)
SOURCE : THE NATION
Posted Monday, July 16, 2012