During an address at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday, the President made clear the government’s dedication to strengthening democratic institutions and protecting the rights and well-being of the poor according to a report from Ary News.
President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for protecting democracy and democratic institutions adding that the elected assemblies and the government will complete their five-year mandated tenure regardless of what the opponents are saying and doing.
He said that when the party went into elections it had promised the voters to launch a series of programmes meant for alleviating the poor of the country.
“We are determined to complete our mandated period to fulfil the promises made to the poor”, he added.
The President was addressing the balloting and cheque distribution ceremony under the Waseela-e-Haq programme of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday.
Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying that the people were the ultimate repository of power and the people alone had the right to elect their representatives and send them to the parliament and assemblies.
The President said some time back when there was a law on statute book requiring representatives to possess bachelor’s degree, no one asked questions about the academic qualifications of elected members. But strangely, now that the said law had been repealed some people were agitating the issue of degrees of MPs and seeking to disqualify them, he added.
The President urged the detractors not to malign the Parliament and democracy adding that the Parliament was capable of defending itself.
He said that the Parliament asserted itself when it democratized the Constitution and gave the people of Pakhtunkhwa their identity and was capable of defending itself against any attack.
The President said that the government initiatives such as Benazir Income Support Programme, distribution of state land free of cost in command areas of 32 small and medium dams among the women of that areas and the offering of 12 per cent stock shares to workers in state-run enterprises through Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme would help banish poverty from the country.
The spokesperson said that the President on the occasion congratulated the members of National Assembly for passing the other day the Bill providing for the establishment of the BISP and hence inscribing the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto into law that is meant for the uplift of the poor.
The President said that it was most appropriate that the National Assembly passed the law in the month of the birth of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and hoped that the Senate would also pass the same soon.
The spokesperson said that the President termed it a tribute to the martyred leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and recognition by the Parliament of what Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has done for the poor and downtrodden of the country. In the remaining term of its office, the government would further advance the pro-poor agenda, the President said.
The President while congratulating the BISP Chairperson and her team said that the BISP was the flagship programme of the government to provide relief to the underprivileged and poor people of the country and added that “we all are very proud the way the programme has progressed into a comprehensive social safety net”.
The President said that the BISP programme has earned the praise of the international community for the transparency with which the poor are identified for help without political consideration. This is indeed a major achievement that the programme has reached more than 2.7 million families in a short span of time, he added.
The President said that BISP programme reflects the feelings Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had for the poor and vulnerable sections of society.
“It is her spirit and the mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that guides us forward towards the fulfillment of our dream of making Pakistan a truly welfare state” the President said.
The spokesperson informed that the President also appreciated and thanked the international community and development partners for supporting us in this noble initiative.
“The emphasis on transparency and impartiality through an internationally recognized poverty assessment tool, the Poverty Scorecard, will Insha Allah make the Benazir Income Support Programme truly a Benazir initiative”, the President said.
The President said that it was pleasing to see the Programme developing into a comprehensive social protection, poverty alleviation and women empowerment platform.
He said that BISP is not merely for poverty alleviation but it has been designed to work as a comprehensive social protection scheme, a platform for women empowerment and covering programs such as health and accident insurance, vocational training and Interest free financing for self employment.