ISLAMABAD, Aug 26: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday vowed to support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in addressing key issues like terrorism and economic crisis.
Speaking at a farewell reception he hosted in honour of media personnel at the Presidency, he extended an olive branch to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and said: “We will support Mian Sahib’s government in the fight against terrorism and efforts to ease the economic crisis.
“Although we are in the opposition, our party will do ‘positive opposition’ and will support the government on key issues,” he said.
Mr Zardari also urged the PML-N government to face criticism of the media “with a smiling face” as the government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) did. “We enjoyed criticism and the new government should also do this,” he suggested.
Mr Zardari’s term as president is ending on September 8 after which he will be replaced by President-elect Mamnoon Hussain.
Recalling what he called his and his party’s achievements the president said he had a very good experience in the Presidency and had no regret while leaving it. “I am leaving the Presidency with dignity,” he said.
He said the PPP and he were happy on peaceful and smooth transition of power from one political party to another in a democratic way. “We proved that we are truly democratic,” he said.
The president recalled that he had said at a public meeting soon after assuming the charge of his office in 2008 that “we have come to make history but not headlines”. “Today we have proved that we did not make headlines but history by completing five years in the government and the Presidency and smoothly handing over power to another political party,” he added.
Mr Zardari said it was for the first time in the history of the country that he had transferred all powers from the Presidency to the parliament. “Pakistan has to be the winner,” he said. Acknowledging that the challenges inherited by the PML-N government were difficult to surmount, Mr Zardari said: “We wanted to rid the country of economic crisis but it could not be done with a limited budget.”
He stressed the need for continuation of economic policies and said: “We introduced Mian Sahib to China for stabilising the country’s economy. That is continuity,” he added.
The president said the PPP wanted to increase the country’s exports to China and that policy was being followed by the PML-N government. “We spent four years only to vacate Gwadar port from the company which had been awarded the contract for its development. We re-awarded the project to China on ten times less cost,” he said.