ISLAMABAD -  Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Friday that ‘conflicts and wars destroy the grand values of humanity’ and it benefits no one.

Addressing the joint sitting of the parliament, the Indonesian president said that the economy of a country can grow in case of political stability and security. “Economic activities will never take place if there is a conflict or a war taking place...I repeat, conflicts and wars will benefit no one,” said Widodo, who is the second president of Indonesia to address the joint sitting after Dr Ahmed Soekarno.

The joint session of parliament, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, was attended by governors and chief ministers, three services chiefs, members of parliament, political leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and senior civil and military officials.

Some prominent lawmakers including Minister for Foreign Affairs Khwaja Asif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rahman, Minister for Railways Saad Rafique and others were absent, however.

The Indonesian president called for unity to maintain peace and stability in the region. “Indonesia is committed to maintaining world’s peace,” he said.

He said that weapons and military power will never resolve conflicts. “Weapons and military powers alone will never be able to create and maintain world’s peace,” he said.

Widodo said that democracy provides the space for the people in the decision-making process. “Democracy is the best way to serve our peoples’ interest,” said the president.

The friendship between Indonesia and Pakistan, he said, is not a newly forged one as his country would always remember the support of the people of Pakistan towards Indonesia’s struggle for independence.

“As a token of appreciation, on August 17, 1995, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian Independence, Indonesia had conferred First Class Adipurna Star to Pakistan’s Father of Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah for his contributions in supporting Indonesia’s independence,” he said.

Besides having a decades-old friendship, the Indonesian president said, the two countries had much in common with both being biggest Muslim populations, members of D-8, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement besides being initiators of the Asia-Africa Conference. “Most importantly, we are both democratic countries,” he mentioned.

He said both Pakistan and Indonesia consistently supported the independence of Palestine. “At this forum, I would like to call once again on all of us to continue to support our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Let us continue supporting Palestinians in their struggle,” he said.

He said that Indonesia was the largest Muslim populated country in the world as around 87 percent from 260 million people in Indonesia equal to 2,262 million Muslim population.

He said just like Pakistan, apart from being home to Muslims, Indonesia was also home to Hindu, Catholic, Protestants, Buddhist, and others making it a pluralistic country.

Despite being very plural with a large number of population and more than 17,000 islands and with 1,340 ethnicities, Indonesia was able to preserve its unity, he said.

“The Indonesian people lived their lives as a nation in a democratic manner. Most people understand that managing diversity was not an easy thing, neither managing democracy. What we need is commitment…commitment to tolerate in order to maintain plurality; commitment for mutual respects so that democracy could function well,” he remarked.

Widodo said that with democracy, political stability in Indonesia could be maintained and economic growth was strong enough in reaching above five percent per year and becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world.

He said without political stability and security, the growth of the national or regional economy was not possible as economic activities would never take place amid a conflict or a war.

Widodo said that in 1963, President Soekarno ignited the spirit to fight against colonialism as well as the spirit of cooperation between newly independent countries.

Earlier, NA Speaker Sadiq, in his welcoming address, said that Pakistan and Indonesia cherish deep bonds of history, religion and culture.

“Your visit and address to this parliament is of immense historic importance to us. Dr Ahmed Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia addressed the National Assembly of Pakistan on June 26, 1963,” said Sadiq, welcoming Widodo.

“This House cherishes the presence in its midst, the democratically elected president of the largest Muslim population country in the world. As the representative of a free will of its 200 million people, this parliament is, therefore, proud of your presence,” he said.

He said, “an everlasting peace in South Asia requires a just and peaceful solution of this unresolved issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and in light of the UNSC resolutions,” “Pakistan hopes that friends like Indonesia will continue to help Pakistan in this regard,” said the speaker.

 “The historical association of our two people has diversified over the period of time and has helped our two governments to build a strong network of cooperation on all fronts,” he said.

As, he said, members of the United Nations, the OIC, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States and other international and regional forums, they have been supporting each other on all issues of common concern and interest.

The parliaments of two countries have also been constantly engaged in a mutually beneficial cooperation. “I am pleased to report that the Pak-Indonesian Friendship Groups have been constituted in both Houses of our Parliament, which represent all political shades present in this House,” he said.

He said that parliaments of the Pakistan and Indonesia (two countries) can play a meaningful role by jointly working to achieve ever-growing and sustainable partnership.

“These fraternal relations even precede the birth of our two countries as we stood by each other during our respective freedom struggles,” said the speaker.

On August 17, 1945, he recalled, when the Founding Father of Indonesia, Dr Ahmed Sukarno, declared his nation’s freedom from the Dutch, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the then president of All India Muslim League, called upon the Muslim troops of the British colonial army, stationed in the Far East to join hands with their Indonesian brethren against the Dutch colonial aggression.

“It remains a glowing chapter of our two countries’ history that some 600 Muslim troops from the Indo-Pak Sub-continent joined the Indonesian freedom war,” he said adding that these fine 600 men were the joint heroes of two nations and they jointly salute them.

“Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s personal attachment to the Indonesian freedom struggle is further manifested from the fact that he ordered to detain the Dutch planes on Karachi Airport, which were carrying supplies for their army in Jakarta,” he said.

He further said Pakistan is proud of the fact that when in 1995, Indonesia celebrated the golden jubilee of its independence; it never forgot its Pakistani comrades and decorated Muhammad Ali Jinnah with the highest civil award of “ADI-PURA”. On their part, he said, the Indonesian brothers and sisters have also never left Pakistan alone in its hours of crisis. “They stood shoulder to shoulder with us during the Indo-Pak War of 1965 and did not hesitate for a minute in handing over whatever military resources Indonesia had at that critical time,” he said, added “It goes without saying that 1948, 1965, 1971 and the later conflicts in South Asia had their genesis in the seven-decade-old Kashmir dispute,” .

“Our daunting challenge has been our fight against global terrorism, in which Pakistan has paid the heaviest price by rendering over sixty-five thousand lives and bearing a loss of over 120 billion US dollars to its economy,” he said, mentioning that terrorism and extremism was a common enemy.

“Islam in Indonesia is a tolerant Islam, Islam in Indonesia is moderate, and we will continue to push for this: that our diversity, our pluralism in Indonesia will continue, that our people are united, that our country will continue to be developed and improve itself so that we will get better and better and better,” he said.

 

 

Political stability vital for economic bustle: Widodo