05-10-2011  17:12:31

Opening Remarks of the Prime Minister At the Conference of the Leaders of the Political Parties Islamabad 29 September 2011

• Honourable Leaders of the Political Parties,


I wish to thank you, first of all, for kindly accepting my invitation for this meeting of the leaders of the political parties of Pakistan and have given a clear message of national unity to the nation and the world.

We are gathered here today to deliberate on issues relating to national security.

The purpose, of course, is not only to brief you on the complexity of regional developments but also to have in depth discussion with a view to adopting a well considered national response.

The political parties are the authentic representatives of the people of Pakistan. It has been democratic government’s consistent endeavour to forge national consensus on all important issues.
National security is a foremost priority. Complete unity in our ranks and a well-deliberated policy is of critical importance.

Our nation is proud and resilient. Collectively we can overcome any challenge. We must acquit ourselves of this high responsibility honourably and in the national interest.
Situated in a region of geo-strategic significance, Pakistan has been impacted directly and severely by the turbulence in our immediate neighbourhood.
I need not to go into the history of conflict and strife that engulfed Afghanistan since 1979. However, it is clear that conflicting interests of global and regional powers have collided in this region with devastating consequences.

Believing in the principles of humanity and mindful of our responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations, Pakistan has carried the burden of the international community and made relentless effort in the interest of regional security, stability and peace.
We are at a new turning point in the regional situation. The quest for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan is compounded by an increase in violence.

On the request of the Government of Afghanistan, we signaled our readiness to facilitate an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned inclusive process for peace and reconciliation.
A Joint Commission was established for this purpose which is co-chaired by President Karzai and myself.

We also agreed to form a Trilateral Core Group consisting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States for the purposes of consultation, cooperation and coordination at the strategic and operational planes.

While these initiatives were ongoing, the security situation in Afghanistan, particularly in Kabul, started to deteriorate. There have been several terrorist attacks in Kabul recently. The tragic assassination of Chairman of the High Peace Council Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani constitutes a huge setback to peace process.

It is in the backdrop of these developments that we were surprised by statements from responsible US officials. These were in sharp variance with Pakistan’s numerous sacrifices and achievements in the struggle against terror and militancy.

We have rejected these assertions and underscored the importance of addressing all issues in a mature, reasonable and responsible manner.
We have always said that the only way forward is to engage constructively by deepening engagement at all levels.

Blame game is counter-productive. This should end and Pakistan’s red lines and national interests must be respected.

Any perceptional differences and issues should best be resolved through a constructive dialogue.

The only reasonable basis for conducting inter-state relations is to adhere to principles of sovereign equality, mutual interest and mutual respect. Pakistan cannot be pressured to do more.

Our national interest must be respected and honored.

Our channels of communication remain open. We are reaching out to the international community.
I am confident that the political leadership and the people of Pakistan will once again reaffirm, in unequivocal terms, their resolve to defend the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of our sacred motherland.

Pakistan is proud of its armed forces and has full confidence in their capabilities for ensuring national defence.
Every new challenge presents new opportunities. Insha’Allah, we will rise together and prove equal to the tasks at hand.

Setting aside our political differences, we have gathered here to uphold national security. I request that we should focus today on the challenge to our country, so that the nation and the world can see that we stand united in safeguarding Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, national dignity and honour. 

Now I request the Foreign Minister to brief the meeting.