‘Pakistan will witness a peaceful democratic transition soon’

Cooperation between India and Pakistan is imperative for exploiting the enormous potential latent in the South Asia region, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday when Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar called on him after the inauguration of the 6th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Speakers and Parliamentarians’ Conference here.

Billing regional cooperation as an important engine of prosperity, Mr. Zardari said the need for this had never been as great as it was today to meet the emerging challenges of the ever-growing population of the region. Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India, he called for greater interaction between parliamentarians of the two countries; adding that such high-level visits had significantly improved the atmosphere between the countries.

This is Ms. Kumar’s second visit to Pakistan this year. She was here earlier in the year at the head of a parliamentary delegation on a bilateral visit.

Earlier, delivering the inaugural address of the Conference, the President said the entire region was facing the scourge of terrorism, and Pakistan was worst hit by it. He sought the help of other member countries of the SAARC in dealing with drug trafficking, as this was financing terrorism. Pointing out that heroin was developed by the international community as a war weapon against the rival ideology in the region, he said “that weapon of war has still not been dismantled” and “together we must dismantle this.”

Referring to doubts about the survival of democracy in Pakistan, Mr. Zardari described the attempts to destabilise the democratic process as “teething troubles of a genuine democratic transition” and the “dying kicks of an old order.” Confident that Pakistan would witness a peaceful democratic transition soon, he asserted: “We are well on our way to realising democracy’s dividends.”

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