President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said that owing to the government’s prudent policies, Pakistan achieved significant progress in diverse areas including economy, human and social development, information technology, foreign policy and defence. Addressing the joint session of parliament, he mentioned increase in exports from US $ 23.7 billion during fiscal year 2019-20 to US $ 25.3 billion and in 2020-21; workers’ remittances recorded at the historic US $ 29.4 billion, vibrancy in stock market, improvement in ease of doing business and enhanced investor’s confidence were some of the government’s achievements. The president said that with 18% growth in revenue collection recorded at Rs. 4,732 billion in 2020-21, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has registered an increase of Rs.160 billion revenue collection as against the target during the first two months of the current fiscal year. He said that with the record sale and purchase of 2.21 billion shares in one session in May 2021 alone, Pakistan’s stock market got the distinction of best market in Asia and 4th in the world. The president further said that two years back Pakistan had obtained 28 points of improvement in the World Bank’s ranking of ease of doing business. Pakistan has also won the confidence of overseas investors through 60% increase in the Business Confidence Index (BCI) in the survey of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), he added. The president said that enhanced revenue collections and workers’ remittances indicated full confidence in the government’s policies. The president said that the government made legislation to protect rights of special persons and women as well as to eliminate sexual crimes. Unfortunately, some cases of sexual crimes were reported from different parts of the country but the government came into action to curb the evil which needed to be enforced, he added. He said, in some parts of the country, the refusal of property rights to women is still prevalent which is unfortunate for a Muslim country as Allah Almighty guides in details on the subject in Quran. He again urged the society particularly Ulema to play role for awareness and counter such traditions. Coming to the democratic system, the president said the electoral reforms are essential which could not be achieved through commotion. He said the electronic voting machine would ensure transparency, voter’s privacy and swift results as it also featured a counter to calculate votes. Moreover, the government is also taking measures like i-voting to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. Touching the subject of foreign policy, the president said India is committing genocide of Kashmiri people as well as targeting Indian Muslim minorities. He said Imran Khan, who called himself as ambassador of Kashmir, exposed the real face of India globally. He said Pakistan always strive to maintain friendly ties with the world which was also manifested by the prime minister in his maiden speech. But it was construed as Pakistan’s weakness by India, he added. President Alvi asked India to end its atrocities in IIOJK and abide by the UN resolutions. He also assured the Kashmiri people that Pakistan is committed to its stance and thanked China, Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan for supporting Pakistan’s stance on the issue. Moreover, he said the repeated incidents of uranium sale were deadly for regional security but unfortunately, the world media is keeping mum on it. About Afghanistan, he said, since the beginning, Imran Khan called for political settlement in Afghanistan and opposed the military solution. He said even after decades of war and spending trillions of dollars, peace could not be revived in Afghanistan. Calling Taliban’s announcement for amnesty as encouraging, he urged the world community to support the Afghan people in lurch and make efforts to avert humanitarian and economic crisis. He said the world should acknowledge that Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan is proved correct and suggested the world to follow Imran Khan’s political acumen in other matters too. The president said that different regional fora like Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should be used for the promotion of regional linkages. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said, would further strengthen the linkages among the regional economies. He said Pakistan attaches high priority to its ties with China that played a vital role in the economic development and prosperity of Pakistan. Expressing his confidence, the president further said that ill designs of certain elements in the region to harm these time-tested ties were doomed to fail. The president also thanked Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran and all other brotherly Muslim countries for supporting Pakistan. The president also paid rich tributes to the sacrifices of the armed forces, law enforcement agencies, civil forces and the nation who had jointly defeated the scourge of terrorism. During Covid 19 pandemic, the nation contributed with huge donations and the prime minister took decisions on the basis of compassion that they would not impose complete lockdown and save the livelihood of the poor segments of society, he said. The president also thanked media and ulema for creating awareness about the pandemic, adding mosques were kept opened during the pandemic. The president also highlighted the need to discourage the trend of fake news which has brought destruction in the world. He also called upon media to work for the training of society, adding mosque and pulpits were very important pillars of society. President Dr Arif Alvi congratulated government for removing the objections of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and for promulgating and implementing the necessary laws and procedures to this effect. He said the government announced a construction package for citizens particularly for the vulnerable sections of society. Dr Arif Alvi underlined the need for focusing on cyber security. “I have confidence in the scientists and information technology experts, that with their mental capacities they would tackle the challenges of cyber defence and security issues.” He said the government was giving priority to development of human resources. The president said the country in the past could not make progress due to the menace of corruption and wrong priorities. Earlier, the opposition parties boycotted the joint sitting in protest over proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill.