President Dr Arif Alvi is addressing the lawmakers of Pakistan for the first time in a joint sitting of the parliament.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had claimed that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had assured the government that its members will not disrupt the proceedings.
However, the session started with a protest from opposition lawmakers, which was overruled by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, following which opposition lawmakers, mostly from the PML-N, walked out as the president began his speech.
"Today's address marks the beginning of the new parliamentary year," President Alvi said. "I am grateful to God that I have been given the biggest job in the country.
"The elections proved that the parliament is tired of dishonesty. This government wants to make a new Pakistan, and we need to remember that we are one nation."
"We need to remember the fact that we are a nation in debt and we take on more debt to pay off the interest on our old debt, instead of building development projects.
"We need to take on the example of the state of Madinah and build a country based on that model."
"We need to initiate new housing projects and build schemes to provide our youth with jobs. If we are able to do so, that is what tabdeeli is going to be, and it will be the basis of Naya Pakistan. I look towards our lawmakers to come up with strategies that make all of this possible."
President Alvi in his maiden address, talked about the growing water crisis in the country. "There is a lack of water in Pakistan," he said. "Our urban centres are facing severe environmental pollution. In these circumstances we need to build dams and plant trees to tackle the issue."
The government had earlier convened the joint sitting on Sept 13 and regular sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate on Sept 14, but cancelled it a day before at the PML-N’s request and to avoid possible criticism of the move as it was coinciding with the funeral of former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
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