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Zardari to address Pakistani parliament April 6


Islamabad : Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will address a joint session of parliament April 6, a media report Monday said.

“A summary regarding the presidential address to the joint session of the two houses of the parliament has been sent to the Aiwan-e-Sadr and a speech about one-year performance of the (government of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza) Gilani with regard to strengthening of the democratic institutions will be prepared as soon as the summary is approved,” The News quoted an official as saying.

This will be Zardari’s second address to a joint parliament session, having first done so seven months ago.

Zardari’s predecessor Pervez Musharraf had refused to address the joint session for the last four years of the previous government, saying that the parliamentarians should first assure him they would listen to him in a civilised manner.

Asked about the achievements of the government, Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said: “The sitting parliament has achieved so much success during the past one year that none of the past legislatures achieved.

“The biggest of the achievements is riddance of the country from eight-year dictatorial rule of Gen Musharraf. For the first time a man from Sindh was elected as president of the country with two-thirds majority and a prime minister was elected unanimously,” he maintained.

Also for the first time, a woman was elected speaker of the National Assembly and the leader of the opposition was elected as head of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

According to Awan, nearly a dozen resolutions on a number of national and international issues were adopted unanimously in accordance with the national aspirations, and the government tabled the defence budget in the National Assembly for the first time in the country’s 62-year history.

“A new tradition of not opposing private member’s bills has been set during the outgoing parliamentary year,” the minister said, adding: “Rather, the treasury benches extended cooperation for adoption of those bills.”

“By asking 350 questions during the past one year, MNA (member National Assembly) Yasmeen Rehman from the treasury benches held the government of her own party accountable whereas the past governments discouraged their members from raising important questions,” he pointed out.

Awan said Gilani attended each session of the National Assembly and even responded during question hour and on points of order.

He said parliament also had the distinction of being briefed by the top military leadership in an in-camera session.

“With the efforts of the parliamentary committee on national security, the unrest in the tribal areas and Balochistan following 9/11 has been overcome to a large extent.

“The judges of the superior courts who were deposed by a dictator have also been reinstated during the year,” Awan added.