ISLAMABAD    -   President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said extremist Indian leadership is bent upon mutilating the demographics of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and expressed fear that the world peace will be gravely imperilled if the international community did not take notice of the Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

“Pakistan wants to make it clear to India that genocide of innocent Kashmiris will not be tolerated. I want to clarify to the international community that any negligence in this regard will pose a serious threat to international peace,” President Alvi told the joint session of parliament.

The joint session, which marked the beginning of the second parliamentary year of the National Assembly, was also attended by the chiefs of the navy and air force, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as other dignitaries.

He said due to presence of over 900,000 Indian troops, IOK is the most militarised zone in the world. Kashmiris are braving Indian brutalities including custodial murders, rapes and torture, he said, adding that the curfew in the occupied valley has now entered in its sixth week with other inhuman restrictions in place including a blanket communication blackout.

“We have always answered India’s aggression with responsibility in a bid to ease down the already volatile situation. When India violated Pakistan’s airspace [in February this year], the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) responded with great valour and showed military forces’ operational preparedness to India.

He said Kulbhushan Jadhav’s presence in Pakistan is evidence that India has always sponsored terrorism on Pakistani soil. “He has confessed that he is a serving officer and was sent to ignite tensions in Balochistan,” he added.

The president said a Hindu extremist mindset had taken over India and the world would have to confront these fascist policies. He said the religious extremism of RSS was fast reshaping the face of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru’s India and had made the lives of minorities and moderates of India unsafe.

Pakistan’s biggest mistake

President Alvi said the geographical significance of Pakistan has focused the world’s attention on it. “Pakistan is world’s seventh and Muslim world’s first nuclear power. Our nuclear assets are a deterrent to the aggressive designs of our enemies,” he said.

He said that valiant Pak armed forces have proved their mettle to the world by fighting a long, arduous war against terrorism.

President Alvi however said Pakistan’s biggest political mistake was to get involved in others’ wars, as he stressed that major decisions needed to be made in national interest.

He blamed certain bad decisions taken in the past for causing the curse of terrorism to the country.

The president mentioned that giving refuge to millions of Afghan refugees was a an unprecedented example of hospitality and generosity in the world, however it adversely impacted the Pakistani economy.

“In view of these matters, I would like to highlight that all major decisions should be taken by keeping national interests supreme,” he said. Rumpus Opposition members, throughout the speech of the President, created rumpus by shouting anti-government slogans, and tearing of papers and throwing them in the air.

As he started his address, opposition lawmakers gathered near speaker’s podium and began shouting ‘Kashmir ka soda na-Manzor’, ‘Selected government na-Manzor’, ‘Go-Niazi go’, and other such slogans, which they continued chanting till the end of the President speech.

They blocked the vision of the President with placards inscribed with slogan ‘Issue Production Order of arrested members’, ‘NAB – Black law’ and ‘Kashmir ka soda na-Manzor’.

Out of six arrested MNAs, portraits of four - Asif Ali Zardari, Rana Sana Ullah, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khwaja Saad Rafique - were placed on their seats.

Prime Minister Imran Khan attentively listened the speech of the President through headphones, and he kept smiling most of the time. Some young government lawmakers were seen standing around the chair of prime minister to prevent any hostile action from the opposition benches.

As, the opposition members mostly shouted slogans against the prime minister while approaching near his seat. At some points, they came close to ugly clashes with the treasury members but the situation was controlled by Sergeants-at-arm and senior members from both the sides.

PPP MNA Rafi Ullah and Minister for Human Right Shireen Mazari however engaged in verbal brawl and seemingly exchanged heated words.

More on Kashmir

President Alvi in his speech said the incumbent government and the masses have reacted strongly to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s illegal Kashmir move. He said the government also cut down diplomatic ties with New Delhi and raised the issue at all international fora.

“The issue was addressed at the UNSC meeting, which reflects that the Kashmir issue is not India’s internal matter but an international matter. Similarly, OIC strongly condemned the August 5 move and demanded that issue must be resolved in accordance with UNSC resolutions,” he pointed out.

The President thanked all countries that played their role in holding UNSC meeting on Kashmir issue.

Lauding the reaction from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he particularly spoke high of the joint statement from the UN Human Rights Council, with the support of 58 countries, demanding from India to immediately remove all restraints in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

President Arif Alvi commended the recent visit of the prime minister to the US and said that Pakistan would welcome American initiative towards mediation for the just and sustainable resolution of this dispute.

The government and whole Pakistani nation stand with their Kashmiri brethren and will continue its diplomatic, moral and political support until the realization of their goal of independence from India.

Home affairs

About economic challenges, President Alvi said, “Economically, the country is passing through a challenging time as the government inherited current account and budget deficits and circular debt.

He said the national economy was on the verge of collapse. Pakistan could not meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. “I would like to underscore here that it is our national responsibility to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to allow the common man to reap their benefits,” he said.

He however said, “It is important to note here that compared to the previous financial year, there has been a considerable reduction in our current account deficit, due to increase in exports and decrease in imports.”

The President lauded Information technology policy of the government. “The use of information technology (IT) will play an important role in bringing more transparency in the government affairs. Without developing indigenous IT market, we cannot compete with the world,” he said.

About social media, he said the importance of social media cannot be over emphasized. “One cannot deny its scope and outreach. I would like the government to formulate a comprehensive and effective policy regarding social media, so that fake news, disinformation, and misinformation could be countered and real news could be given proper coverage,” he said.

About the menace of corruption, the President said corruption remained rampant during the previous eras and unjust decisions were taken which prevented remodelling of the economy on modern principles.

He said agriculture is the backbone of our economy. “Keeping in view the importance of this sector, the government has launched Prime Minister’s Agriculture Emergency Program for enhancing the yield of basic commodities like wheat, rice, and sugar,” he said.

Alvi said the government deserves commendation for its initiative of Panah Gahs for the homeless. He expressed hope that these projects will be completed speedily. “In fact, the political, social, economic progress and stability of Pakistan is contingent upon transforming Pakistan into State of Medinah,” he said, as enunciated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his inaugural address.

About tourism, he said “Pakistan is a beautiful country that can attract tourists from across the world to improve national economy.” He said government has initiated Clean and Green Pakistan Program, under which 10 billion trees will be planted in 5 years to control climate change issue.

About overseas Pakistanis, The President said government has taken considerable steps for facilitating them. “I would like that hurdles in transmission of money through banking channels should be removed immediately so that remittances may be enhanced,” he said.