ISLAMABAD - Pledging to transform Pakistan into a moderate and developed country, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that the state cannot not survive if the constitutional order is not respected and the rule of law not enforced.
“We will have to take the course of constitutional order and abide by the laws of the land because all the roads to a strong and unimpeachable national defence emerge from adherence to the constitutional order and rule of law,” he said in his address here at the National Defence University (NDU).
The prime minister said a strong state has to be built on discipline and orderly compliance of its constituents. He said Pakistan has to pursue this path if it wants to be recognised as a respectable part of the comity of nations. “While shaping our future, we will have to keep in mind the mistakes of our past,” he remarked.
The attendants included federal ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, NDU President Lt-Gen Javed Iqbal, faculty and participants of National Security and War Course and officers from friendly countries.
PM Nawaz said strengthening of Pakistan’s identity as a modern and democratic state, at peace with both itself and its neighbours, and also recognised as a responsible sovereign all over the world was an imperative of country’s National Security Policy. He said the discipline of a state was a product of its constitution and was exercised through fearless implementation of its laws while ensuring the fundamental principles of equality and due process of the law.
Dwelling on the challenges and opportunities, the prime minister said the greatest challenge was law and order and internal security, which had multiple dimensions including terrorism and extremism, instability in Balochistan, turmoil in Karachi and sectarianism. He appreciated the armed forces, security agencies, police and public servants for their resolute fight against terrorism.
“We are eternally grateful to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while defending us and our values. May their souls rest in eternal peace! I am (also) proud of the courage and resilience of the people of Pakistan as they continue to bravely weather the challenging times,” Nawaz said, terming the terrorism ‘extremely complex’ which could not be resolved by any one party or one institution and required a national response.
Nawaz Sharif said the other formidable challenge was revival of the economy. Immediately after taking over, his government took a number of steps to put the economy on the path of stability, he added. These, he said, included the signing of a new standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), clearing of the circular debt of power sector and addressing the energy shortfall through measures ranging from efficient use of existing resources to expanded production.
The prime minister said work was in progress on the 11th Five Year Plan and a perspective plan known as Pakistan Vision 2025. Its priority objectives included sustainable economic growth, fixing the macroeconomic imbalances, employment generation to absorb the youth bulge and creation of an investment friendly climate, he added.
Nawaz said Pakistan came into being as a result of the long democratic struggle. “It is a matter of profound gratification that democracy is a defining feature of today’s Pakistan,” he said and pointed out that the peaceful, dignified transfer of power from one elected government to another, following the May 2013 elections, testified to the maturity of political culture.
This historic democratic transition was reinforced by the active support and vital contributions from an independent judiciary, free media, and a dynamic civil society, he added. “As we move forward, it is imperative that we organize our national life in accordance with the Islamic principles, the democratic ideals, and the Quaid-i-Azam’s vision,” the prime minister said.
He reiterated the ascendancy of constitutional order and rule of law were a mandatory requirement of national security. “Only a constitutional order and rule of law can provide for an institutional balance, which can strengthen the state and the society.” He said political instability and unconstitutional rule divided the nation and reduced its collective strength.
In this context, he quoted Father of the Nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s address to the young officers at Staff College, Quetta in 1948: “The spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the constitution, which is in force in Pakistan and understand its true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the constitution.”
PM Nawaz Sharif again lauded the sacrifices of the brave armed forces and said, “We are proud of your efforts to ensure the safety and security of the homeland, from the heights of Siachin to the plains of the Run of Kutch. The nation also owes you a debt of gratitude for all you do, whenever natural calamities hit Pakistan.” He welcomed the guest officers from abroad and said their presence was a reflection of the excellent ties that Pakistan had with their respective countries. Nawaz also appreciated the contributions of National Defence University as a centre of excellence and as a premier academic and research institution to national development.
He said the high standard of training and education at NDU, in both military and civilian spheres, had been acknowledged widely at home and abroad. It was evident from the growing number of participants from many friendly countries apart from a fair share from civil services. The prime minister also commended the faculty for their dedication and hard work and congratulated the civilians who graduated in the course.