Prime Minister’s address

Prime Minister Gilani addressed the nation on radio for the first time this Friday. He did not say anything that was new; it was just another reiteration of the government’s ostensible achievements. Mr Gilani said that “the time is not far away when we will be able to clear our land of terrorists”. To this government’s credit, it must be said that it has brought about a sea change in public opinion on the war against terrorism. The Musharraf regime’s dual policy had created a lot of confusion, which was why when the Lal Masjid operation took place, it had to face public anger. The PPP government has been able to reverse the tide and has in effect strengthened the hand of the political forces and the military. Both the government and the military should remain steadfast and crush the terrorist network.

Prime Minister Gilani said that during the two years that the PPP government has been in power, it has “made relentless endeavours to surmount the inherited problems”. He was obviously referring among other things to the present state of the economy. Admittedly, these are difficult times, what with the global recession and the crisis in Pakistan. Shaukat Aziz’s so-called ‘economic miracle’ proved to be a mirage and with the bursting of the financial bubble, Pakistan’s economy went into a downslide. While all that is in the past, we now require an indigenous consensus on an economic policy keeping in mind the ground realities of a developing country like ours. For this we need capital formation and no resource should be left untapped for its materialisation.

Among other things, the prime minister vehemently stressed the need for an ethical media and opposition. He said that the government has always welcomed positive criticism, but the truth should not be distorted. Both the irresponsible sections of the media and the opposition should put an end to malicious anti-government campaigns, as it would only sabotage democracy in the end. Gilani promised to restore the 1973 Constitution, indeed a humongous task given the myriads of distortions it has suffered over the years.

Keeping in view the greater outreach of radio, Mr Gilani has done well to choose this mode of communication. The PPP needs to take measures such as the address to put its case out in the public space.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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