Zardari rules out unilateral withdrawal from Siachen
OKARA: Ruling out a unilateral withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Siachen, President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said if India calls back its forces from Siachen, only then will Pakistan follow suit.
President Zardari was addressing a convention of PPP’s divisional party workers at the residence of Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, on Friday.
President Zardari said he had all the constitutional authority to dissolve parliament and send parliamentarians home but he had delegated his powers to parliament. He said he delegated the powers to the provinces, but Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was not ready to hand over 17 provincial ministries to his party MPAs. He said the younger Sharif bore all the hallmarks of a character like the Mughal Prince Saleem but he had no power in his hands. The elder Sharif, in fact, possessed all the power, he added.
The president said the man with 17 ministries in his hands cast slurs and showered abuses on the PPP while the vision of Benazir Bhutto had always been reconciliatory. ìSo I have to talk about reconciliation also,î the president said. He said if Pakistani politicians could not reconcile among themselves, it would prove that they could not reach a consensus on any point.
The president said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had gained the status of global politicians. He himself started his political career from Garhi Khuda Bukhsh and would like to end it there. He said he supported the Nawaz-League govt in the Punjab just to check their political capabilities. He said the PPP government had been meeting the basic needs of the nation for the past four years. Now, Pakistan stood among the exporters of wheat and sugar. The president said whoever avoided buying Shahbaz Sharif’s bread was destined to be booked under 302 PPC.
Zardari said he supported the Seraiki province so that no other extremist party could raise the demand. It would be better that a federal political party extended such a demand.†He said in his meeting with the Indian prime minister, the first point that came under discussion was trade between Pakistan and India. He wished the discussion continued for long. So, he would, on the demand of Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, soon declare the opening of the Pak-India border at Head Sulemanki, and undertake the construction of the Multan-Delhi Road, to start trade between the two countries.†
He said the problems of tenants of the Military Farms would be solved. At the first stage, the affairs of tenants’ residences, and at the second stage the matters of land, would be solved.†
Responding to Manzoor Wattoo’s demand, the president said the change of half year’s flow of canal water into 12 months would be solved by the next government. He promised launching a project of tubewells on solar energy in Depalpur very soon. He said dialogue was the greatest weapon of a politician, and he had assigned a mission to Mian Manzoor Wattoo to get significant political personalities inducted into the PPP and evolve a strategy to ensure another five years rule for the PPP in the Punjab.
The president was earlier led to inaugurate wheat harvesting. A lunch was arranged for the president and his 85 aides, which was especially ordered from a five-star hotel of Lahore.†Security was so strict that once an invitee entered the workers convention venue, he was not allowed to leave it till the end.
APP adds: President Asif Zardari said Pakistan was willing to have a dialogue with India on all subjects and withdrawal from Siachen was possible, provided both countries agreed to it.
The president said, “We are aware of the extreme climate and other difficulties at one of the world’s most difficult terrains but the withdrawal can only take place if the two governments decide to pull out from the area jointly.”
The president, along with the gathering, offered special Dua for the wellbeing of those valiant soldiers and sons of the soil who remain buried under an avalanche in the Gayari sector of Siachen area. Friday was observed by the whole nation as Youm-e-Dua.
Earlier, talking to a delegation of the People’s Lawyers Forum (PLF) at Lahore Airport, President Zardari said the government would continue facilitating the lawyers community in every possible manner so that the goal of easy dispensation of justice to the common man could be accomplished.