The democratically elected government is not only taking on the menace of terrorism but also bringing incremental expansion of democratic infrastructure and governance in Pakistan following decades of dictatorship, MNA and presidential media advisor Farahnaz Ispahani underscored Tuesday. In an opinion piece in a Congressional daily, The Hill, the member of the parliament took issue with assertions made by Thomas Houlahan in the writing “Pakistan: Time for the United States to Choose.”
Isphahani said Houllahan conveniently ignores a series of achievements made over the last 28 months under the PPP-led government.
“The PPP has committed to defeating terrorism in Pakistan and re-orienting our society to address long-neglected human needs,” she asserted.
Many Pakistani politicians have talked change, but the government of Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari is in the midst of rebuilding the institutions of government that were destroyed when former military dictator Musharraf was in power, the lawmaker remarked.
“All of these critical developments on Pakistan’s path back to democracy crested last month with the passage of the 18th amendment, which relinquished key powers of the president for the sake of restoring the constitutional, democratic rule of law envisioned by our leaders forty years ago.”
“Mr. Houlahan neglects to talk about these very significant and positive developments in Pakistan, just as he ignores the fact that Pakistan is fighting the World’s War a war on terror, a battle that has taken the lives of four thousand civilians, two thousand troops and police and our greatest political leader.”
Isphahani reminded that the feisty challenge of fighting the war on terror has consumed billions of dollars that had been targeted towards the development of new power projects and other critical infrastructure projects.
“Pakistan is very much a nation at war, and as we fight for our existence, we also fight to undo the vestiges of dictatorship that have crippled our economy and undermined civil society.”
Rebutting suggestions made by the writer, the presidential adivsor said “Mr. Houlahan’s fails to mention that both of President Zardari’s sisters, Dr. Azra Fazal and Faryal Talpur were democratically elected politicians under the previous government and popularly elected once again into this assembly.”
The President certainly did not place them there. In fact, the President was in Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s jails while his sisters bravely contested elections under Musharraf’s dictatorship, she pointed out.
Contrary to Houlahan’s suggestion, she noted, the PPP government of Pakistan has “fought for press freedom and judicial independence. The party and the government don’t fear accountability and transparency, we welcome it as a core of our party manifesto.”
She also drew attention to the difficult time the country faced after the assassination of popular leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, adding the Pakistanis united around common democratic principles and values.
“A free and democratic election resulted in a victory by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and our new party leader, Asif Ali Zardari, gained 70 percent of the vote as a presidential candidate. Among the successes during this time: A parliament was seated; a prime minister was selected by consensus for the first time in history; a woman was elected speaker of our National Assembly for the first time in any Muslim Nation.”
Source: Associated Press of Pakistan