President Zardari wants end to political confrontation

Islamabad, June 11 (IANS) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has called for bringing an end to political confrontations to effectively deal with the daunting challenges being faced by the country.

"We cannot afford confrontation and need reconciliation," said President Zardari while addressing a joint session of the parliament Monday, being attended by new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other elected members.

The president's address marked the beginning of the first parliamentary year following the May 11 general elections and formation of the new government, Xinhua reported.

There was no disruption as witnessed in the past during presidential addresses.

"We have fulfilled our promise of smooth transition of power from one democracy to another democracy. This democratic peaceful transition marks the success of a prolonged struggle," he said.

Congratulating the newly elected prime minster, the speaker and the members of the National Assembly, Zardari expressed hope that they would rise to the people's expectations.

Appreciating Pakistanis for their participation in elections and demonstrating courage in defying threats by the enemies of democracy, he said: "There is no place for dictators in today's Pakistan and I salute the people for their courage. They have spoken through their vote and their voice has been heard."

"It has been demonstrated by the smooth transfer of power," he said while commending all political parties and their leaders for accepting the poll results despite reservations.

Zardari also said that there was need to take hard decisions without delay to address challenges facing the country and carry forward the fruits of democracy to the grass-roots.

He said there was also need to learn truth about past mistakes for not repeating them and it calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

On the US drone strikes in the country's tribal regions, he said: "US drone strikes are violation of the international laws and our sovereignty and must be stopped," he said, adding that the air strikes were not useful in the war on terror as the attacks were counterproductive.

--Indo-Asia News Service

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