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Govt pursued policies to provide relief to people: Ashraf

25 March, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday said that he had tried to discharge his responsibilities to the best of his abilities as the chief executive of this great country and he was fortunate to have benefited from the wisdom and counsel of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Ashraf, in his farewell statement, said, "I am blessed and privileged to have had an opportunity to serve the great people of Pakistan. I have been touched by the warmth, affection and support extended to me during my stay in office".

He said, "We have pursued policies to provide relief to the people. However, we have not been able to succeed as much as we would have liked to in reining in the power crisis."

He said that he maintained good relations with the leaders of all political parties, both within and outside parliament, in running the affairs of the government through mutual consultation.

The former prime minister said that he made sincere efforts to ensure a smooth transition of power following the completion of its constitutional term by the present democratic government.

He said, "Hailing from a middle class background, I take pride in being a party worker and in opening the Prime Minister's House to the people and the workers for their free access."

"Every endeavour was made to ensure that appointments, recruitments, postings and transfers of public servants are made on merit and a policy was also formulated and implemented in Balochistan without any discrimination. I have upheld transparency, merit, financial prudence, openness and participatory decision-making", he added.

Ashraf said, "Be it the Karachi factory inferno, the tragedy in Balochistan or the attack on Malala Yousafzai, our people have braved adversity with grace and courage. No matter what the circumstances, their resolve to preserve their dignity, values and way of life have remained unwavering."

He said, "No other nation of the world has been exposed to as many challenges as Pakistan and still our people remain determined to move on and are ready to render every sacrifice to protect their values of pluralism, diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness."

Ashraf said, "The people of Pakistan are simple but endowed with dynamism and resilience. With every crisis, the nation has bounced back with renewed vigour."

The ex-prime minister said in the short span available to him, he approved and released record funds for development projects in the country. He said the present democratic dispensation had had to contend with numerous challenges with the potential to reverse the gains.

"Let me acknowledge here the support of my cabinet colleagues, the party, coalition partners and the contribution of the Opposition," he added.He said, "I would like to particularly appreciate the contributions of and the role played by the judiciary, the armed forces, political forces, media and civil society in strengthening democracy in the country, which augurs well for Pakistan."

He said that there could be criticism on the policies pursued by him, however, no one could blame or point out any financial scandals during his government.He said at the external level, the government spearheaded a broad-based and diversified foreign policy in line with the directions of parliament and aspirations of the people.

"We developed our relations with immediate neighbours as well as other friends on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and fair play. Economic and public diplomacy remained a central plank of the foreign policy objectives that the government pursued during tenure. Trade not aid was our guiding principle," he added.

Raja said, "In my long career in public service, I have all along been convinced of the potential and resourcefulness of our people. In the last few months, my faith in the people has only been reinforced. Pakistan is endowed with great potential and resources which portend a promising future."

He said, "We have rendered great sacrifices for democracy and the restoration of people's rights. Today there is a consensus on the supremacy of law and continuity of democracy in the country. This is a tribute to the collective wisdom of the present leadership and their faith in the people of Pakistan."

The former prime minister said, "Today I am convinced more than ever that a great future awaits us. We have laid the foundation of a Pakistan, which is in line with the vision of the founding fathers and befitting the status of a 180 million-strong people and a nuclear power state."

He said, "Now the time has come for the next government to build on the gains we made. What it needs is that its sons and daughters rise to the challenge and do everything in their power to make it happen. We will together, InshAllah, make it happen."

He said, "Let us commit ourselves to continue to serve our people wherever we are. This country has given us everything. It is about time we return some of its favours by working hard for its glory and rightful place in the comity of nations."

"In the end I bow my head in gratitude to Almighty for giving me the strength to guide this nation during testing times and pray for the prosperity, welfare and progress of the people of Pakistan," he said.

End.

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