ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday urged the nation to stand united and support government’s efforts for countering extremism and terrorism, that posed a challenge to the country.
Addressing a grand tribal jirga here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President lauded the people of tribal areas for being at the forefront in the war against terrorism and confronting difficulties with courage, determination and patience.
He said terrorism had not only damaged the national economy and brought a bad name to the country but also maligned Islam – a religion of peace and security. The nation would have to rise above petty differences and strive hard to highlight the peaceful identity of Islam and Pakistan, he added.
The President said he firmly believed that the people of FTTA were fully aware of their duties towards the country and would continue to use all their energies in the best natioanl interests.
“Pakistan is our motherland and it is our obligation to ensure its security and protection,” said President Mamnoon Hussain.
He said prosperity and peace in the country were directly related to development in the tribal areas. The government was keen to ensure uplift of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The President said the new democratic government was heading in the right direction and expressed satisfaction that all resources were being utilized to provide amenities of life to the tribal areas at par with other parts of country.
He said the government had allocated a huge amount for projects in tribal areas under the development programme this year.
With these steps, the tribal people would not only get employment opportunities but also an improved living standard, he added.
President Mamnoon said the development programme for tribal areas would focus on education, health, clean drinking water, electricity through solar energy, agriculture, forestry, irrigation and technical training. He said the projects would guarantee a new era of economic and social prosperity.
He termed the tribal people the trustee of great traditions whose history was based on legends of bravery, valour, hospitality and lawfulness.
“You are the protectors and devoted soldiers of Pakistan’s frontiers and are the frontline defence against any external aggression,” he told the elders belonging to FATA and other representatives of tribal clans.
The President lauded the people of FATA for always supporting the country in difficult times with their selfless love.
He said the hearts of all Pakistanis from Khyber to Karachi beat in unison as they wanted peace, development and prosperity in the country.
He said unfortunately the country had been suffering from terrorism, extremism and militancy, which incurred great loss to the tribal people.
The President said peace and security were vital for the progress and development of any country, while lawlessness and insecurity undermined economic development.
The President, who was earlier presented a traditional “lungi” (turban), welcomed the tribal elders to the President House and said he was very keen to meet them and appreciate their patriotism, courage and services for Pakistan.
Tribal elders from different agencies vowed their full support to the government and its armed forces in complete elimination of terrorism and said they had always rendered sacrifices, were doing so and would continue to fight till their last drop of blood for the motherland.
They, however, urged the government for urgent release of development funds and waiver of the 30 per cent cut so that projects related to health, education and communications could complete and not only generate employment but also help them get the basic facilities of life.
They also pointed out the problems being faced by the internally displaced persons and called for measures to bring peace so that they might return to their homes.
The event was attended by tribal elders from all the tribal agencies, besides Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engr. Shaukat Ullah Khan, parliamentarians and senior officers.