Reconciliation, forgiveness true spirit of democracy: President Mamnoon

ISLAMABAD: Addressing a session of the Parliament on Monday, President Mamnoon Hussain termed the continuation of democracy essential for prosperity in the country, adding that the Parliament played an important role in this regard.

The president congratulated the lawmakers on the completion of the first parliamentary year, adding that the legislature played a crucial role in stabilising democracy in the country.

He said civil society and political forces had rendered unparalleled sacrifices to strengthen the country’s democracy.

Mamnoon said the people had expressed their political choice through votes and had reposed confidence in their political representatives.

He said the country was facing terrorism and extremism and added that it was imperative to resolve these issues for which the path of dialogue had been chalked out.

The president underscored that elimination of terrorism was essential for the country’s prosperity, adding that domestic security would have to be strengthened along with border security.

The president said economic and social development could not take place without stability in the country, adding that the present government was making sincere efforts in this regard.

Mamnoon stressed on the need for friendly relations with neighbouring countries in the region. He said that the government sought friendly and constructive relations with Afghanistan and India’s new political leadership.

He also said that Pakistan wanted to solve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris and UN resolutions.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also present during today’s session.

Earlier, the joint opposition in the Senate had decided to boycott the address by the president at the 23rd such session of the Parliament as a form of protest against Sharif’s failure to turn up at the sessions held by the Upper House.

This had been decided at a meeting of opposition parties in the Upper House, under the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party leader and Senator Aitzaz Ahsan.

The meeting had taken place at the Parliament House, during which the Awami National Party (ANP) recommended that the opposition boycott the session.

The recommendation had been unanimously supported by a number of opposition parties, including the Balochistan National Party, Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid and the BNP-Awami.

Opposition parties were of the view that if the premier could not visit the Senate the entire year, why should the opposition lend its ear to the president’s agenda for the coming year.

The prime minister had sent Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar to woo the opposition due to which meeting of joint session was slightly delayed.