To mark Pakistan's National Day tomorrow, Viet Nam News presents an article prepared by Pakistan Ambassador to Viet Nam, Shahid M G Kiani.
|Pakistan Ambassador to Viet Nam Shahid M G Kiani. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
March 23 is Pakistan Day and observed as a day of rejoicing. On this day in 1940, a resolution was passed at the 27th annual session of the All-India Muslim League presided over by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Lahore, which demanded an independent homeland for Muslims in South Asia.
This was achieved during partition of the Indian sub-continent on August 14, 1947. It is now neary 70 years since the idea became reality. Pakistan is now a democratic state, mirroring the lofty ideals and vision of Jinnah, who was also the founder of Pakistan.
Jinnah told his people from the beginning that God had taught Muslims to settle affairs of state through mutual discussion and consultation. According to him: "It is my belief that our salvation lies in solving the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law giver, the Prophet of Islam. Let's lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideal and principles".
The Government of Pakistan, under the guidance of Asif Ali Zardari and the leadership of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, has implemented policies in the last four years that have made the nation strong and prosperous. These policies concentrated on the well-being of the people, especially the poor.
The internal atmosphere of political confrontation in Pakistan has changed and the political parties, both in government and in opposition, are working with the spirit and philosophy of reconciliation. State institutions are functioning within the stipulated spheres as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan of 1973.
|A dome with a view: A Pakistani observes the landscape from a dome-shaped terrace at a park in Islamabad, Pakistan. — File Photo
The approval of the 19th amendment, while envisaging a new system for appointments in the superior courts, aims at neutralising a probable source of conflict between the judiciary and the executive. The democratic government has also taken various steps to empower women, which include fixing a quota for them in the legislatures and the appointment of a female ombudsperson.
An enactment to stop harassment of women in the workplace has given them the confidence and independence to discharge their duties efficiently without fear. The 20th Constitutional Amendment was passed unanimously by the National Assembly on February 14 this year. It deals with the formation of a caretaker setup and an independent Election Commission.
The Government is also taking important steps to protect minorities and their rights. It has fixed a five per cent quota for minorities in government jobs so that they can play an active role in national development. They also have seats reserved in Parliament and are represented in Cabinet.
The Government is committed to the welfare of expatriate Pakistanis through its missions abroad and is developing effective systems to look after the interests of the Pakistani diaspora.
Democracy in Pakistan has proved to be an important asset that has helped project the nation's strengths abroad. Despite multiple challenges, the Government has met with successes in foreign policy areas. This is due to a clear vision of Pakistan's role in the new strategic context outlined by the democratically elected leadership.
It is striving for peace, prosperity and stability in the region and globally. The end objective is to achieve economic development that benefits Pakistanis. Pakistan's "Vision East Asia" policy aims at strengthening its relations at bilateral and multilateral levels with all ASEAN member states and Viet Nam has a special place in that policy.
Our relations with Viet Nam have enlarged visibly in the last year. This is reflected in the doubling of two-way trade now, which stands at a little over US$316 million and the hosting of the first session of the Pakistan-Viet Nam Trade Commission.
We look forward to strengthening political, economic and trade ties with Viet Nam as there is tremendous potential. We rejoice that economists and policy makers recognise that Viet Nam's impressive social and economic transformation has reached a crucial juncture now that it has joined the group of Middle Income Countries.
It is indeed also heartening that Viet Nam has benefited greatly from the process of globalisation and the country's progressive integration into world markets for primary commodities and manufactures. Viet Nam's impressive growth over the last two decades has been due to considerable improvements in labour productivity, fuelled by capital inflows associated with the nation's structural change from an agricultural to a manufacturing economy. — VNS