ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi Wednesday trashed the apprehensions expressed by certain political figures about any possibility to roll back the 18th Constitutional Amendment, saying he did not see any plans in that regard.
The president, in an interview telecast by Aaj TV, categorically dismissed the fears over the 18th Amendment as unfounded. He also strongly negated the impression about the possibility of a change of foreign policy towards Israel, by maintaining that there would be no change in the stance taken by Pakistan after the 1967 conflict. “The Government of Pakistan still has the same clear stance and there is no debate or consideration over the country’s foreign policy towards Israel. How can one forget the oppression unleashed against the Palestinians and occupation of their homeland,” he added.
The president also alluded to the ongoing Indian atrocities against the innocent Kashmiris in the occupied Kashmir.
Dr. Alvi said under the Constitution, the president had an important role as a symbol of federation. He expressed his satisfaction over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visits to Saudi Arabia and China, which, he said, proved very successful. The Saudi package had eased balance of payment issue, besides oil supply on deferred payments, Saudi interest in setting up an oil refinery and mineral exploration in Reko Diq were the vital outcomes of the visit.
Similarly, he said, the prime minister and his team ended China’s visit on a broader successful note, further tackling the economic issues with the Chinese investment. To a query, the president noted that conflicts on Pakistan’s borders and in the region had effects upon it and cited the situation in the Middle East. He said on Wednesday, he talked to the ambassador of Yemen and reiterated that Pakistan wanted to play a role for peaceful resolution of the issue.
He maintained that the unity of Ummah was of more significance for Pakistan and it would continue to play its impartial role for bringing about peace. Dr. Alvi said Pakistan enjoyed good neighborly ties with Iran as well, which was facing a critical phase in the aftermath of sanctions imposed by the United States. He said Turkey was also facing refugees crises. The world created the crises and then forgot them easily. Pakistan was still hosting 2.5 million Afghan refugees on its soil.
He also expressed his alarm at the death of about 2,000 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. About the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) laws, the president maintained that the same were based upon worldwide legal practices. NAB under the PTI’s government had to prove its impartiality as the fight against corruption could not be won without impartiality, he added.
President Alvi said Pakistan was now in the economic take-off mode. He recalled his recent visit to Gilgit-Baltistan, where he was told that the number of tourists in the area had surged from 15,000 per annum to thousands during the current year which reflected improved law and order situation in the country. To a question about the National Action Plan, he lauded the role of the armed forces in improving the security situation in the country, including Karachi.
About the recent protests by a religious section, he said the government reached an agreement with their leadership to avoid violence and bloodshed. He, however, regretted the loss of public and private property during the protests.
The president said since extremism could hinder the country’s economic development, the government was taking necessary measures in that regard. To a question about corruption, he maintained that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had no vested interests and had no assets abroad, was doing all to check the menace.
About minorities, President Alvi said the state was duty-bound to protect them. He regretted that 80 to 85 percent womenfolk in the country did not get their share in inheritance. The government was bringing a legislation (bill) in the parliament under which after the death of a person, his inheritance would be automatically transferred to their legal heirs according to the particulars of the NADRA B Form, he added.