PM speech at National Defense University, Islamabad

February 04, 2014

Federal Ministers,

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee,

Chiefs of the Armed Forces of Pakistan,

Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal, President National Defence University,

Faculty and Course participants of National Security and War Course,

Officers from friendly countries,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalam-o-Alaikum!


I am delighted to have this opportunity to address the participants of the National Security and War Course at this prestigious institution.
 We are proud of National Defence University’s contributions to our national development as a centre of excellence and as a premier academic and research institution.
The high standard of training and education at NDU, in both military and civilian spheres, is acknowledged widely, at home and abroad. This is evident from the growing number of participants from many friendly countries apart from a fair share from civil services.
 I commend the Faculty for their dedication and hard work. I also congratulate the civilian course participants graduating today.

To the participants from our brave armed forces, I convey the nation’s warm greetings as well assurances that it honours their sacrifices. We are proud of your efforts to ensure the safety and security of our homeland---- from the heights of Siachin to the plains of the Raan of Kutch. The nation also owes you a debt of gratitude for all you do, whenever natural calamities hit Pakistan.
I extend a special welcome to our guest officers from abroad. Your presence here is a reflection of the excellent ties that we are privileged to enjoy with your respective countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Pakistan came into being as a result of a long democratic struggle. It is a matter of profound gratification that democracy is a defining feature of today’s Pakistan.
 The peaceful, dignified transfer of power from one elected government to another, following the May 2013 elections, testifies to the maturity of our political culture. This historic democratic transition is reinforced by the active support and vital contributions from an independent judiciary, free media, and a dynamic civil society.
 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 first and foremost is adherence to the rule of law, as individuals and as a nation. Rule of law in the country would guarantee individual rights and freedoms, offer equality of opportunity to realize human potential, and create conducive environment for social stability and economic development.  
 The second is social justice. All citizens of Pakistan must have the possibility of leading their lives in dignity and honour, irrespective of their caste, colour or creed. At the same time, the vulnerable sections of society must have adequate protection against marginalization.
 The third is tolerance. This has been the core of our religious ethos, and constitutes a critical element in our efforts to build a peaceful and harmonious society. I cannot imagine a progressive and thriving Pakistan without re-building the culture of tolerance, compassion and mutual respect. 
 The fourth is the salience of institutions. They serve as the building blocks of a stable and functioning polity. They take precedence over individuals, irrespective of rank or authority.  Building strong and resilient institutions in Pakistan remains an imperative for our times.
 Ladies and Gentlemen,
 I need not dwell too long on the challenges and opportunities that our internal and external environments present to us. I am sure you have deliberated extensively on these subjects during your course.
 The greatest challenge we face today is of law and order and internal security. This has multiple dimensions, both internal and external. Broadly speaking, its manifestations include terrorism and extremism; instability in Balochistan; turmoil in Karachi; and sectarian conflict.
I appreciate our 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 proud of the courage and resilience of the people of Pakistan, as they continue to bravely weather the challenging times.
 I have no illusions that this is an extremely complex issue. It cannot be resolved by any one party or one institution. It requires a response of the entire nation. All political parties and state institutions have to be in harmony and must be on the same page.
The other formidable challenge we face today is revival of the economy. Immediately after taking office, my Government took a number of steps to put the economy on the path of stability. This included the signing of a new Standby Arrangement with the IMF, clearing of the so-called Circular Debt, and addressing the energy shortfall through measures ranging from efficient use of existing resources to expanded production.
Work is now in progress on the 11th Five Year Plan and a perspective plan known as Pakistan Vision 2025. Priority objectives include sustainable economic growth, fixing the macro-economic imbalances, employment generation to absorb the youth bulge, and creation of an investment friendly climate.
 Ladies and Gentlemen,
 Our objective of internal peace and economic development cannot be achieved without peace, stability, and prosperity in our neighborhood. Since taking office, I have consistently worked for the realization of this vision.
Afghanistan is our important neighbor and a nation with which we have immutable ties of history, faith and culture. I have reassured President Karzai that we do not wish to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. A peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s vital interest.
 Pakistan would continue to facilitate efforts for an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The international community should remain engaged in supporting Afghanistan’s reconstruction and economic development. We believe that cooperative approaches at the regional level would foster mutual trust and confidence and reinforce efforts for peace and stability.
 Together with the Afghan leadership, we have also embarked on efforts to further deepen and broaden our fraternal relationship. There is a positive momentum, which must be sustained and further strengthened.
We desire cooperative and good-neighbourly relations with India, on the basis of sovereign equality and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes. We remain committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of dialogue.
 The recent Ministerial Review of Strategic Dialogue in Washington provided an opportunity for fruitful exchanges on all aspects of bilateral and regional issues. As our relations gain momentum, we hope to build a more stable and durable partnership on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest.  
 Ladies and Gentlemen,
 Pakistan has come a long way since its independence. What we have achieved, despite formidable internal and external challenges, is a testimony to the enormous strength and resilience of our people. Most of what we have lost is attributable to deviation from the vision of our Founding Fathers. That glorious vision must remain our guide, as we move forward on the path to peace and prosperity. The critical elements of this vision, of course, are democracy, rule of law, tolerance, social justice and a foreign policy based on “peace within and peace without”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The ascendancy of constitutional order and rule of law is 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. Political instability and unconstitutional rule divides the nation and reduces their collective strength. It was in this context that father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah said in his address to the young officers at Staff College, Quetta in 1948 and I quote:-

“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”.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
To conclude, I would like to say that strengthening of our identity as a modern and democratic state which is at peace with both itself and its neighbors and is also recognized as a responsible sovereign all over the world is an imperative of our National Security Policy. If the constitutional order is not respected and the rule of law is not enforced, the state cannot survive. No one can understand the need of discipline as much as you but remember that a strong state is also built on discipline and orderly compliance of its constituents. The discipline of a state is a product of its constitution and is exercised through fearless implementation of its laws while ensuring the fundamental principles of equality before the law, equal treatment before the law and due process of the law.
Ladies and Gentleman,
While shaping our future, we will have to keep in mind the mistakes of our past. If we want to be recognized as a respectable part of the comity of nations, 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 defense emerge from adherence to the Constitutional order and rule of law.
Once again, I thank you Ladies and Gentlemen for your patient indulgence.