Islamabad, Aug.14 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said that the nation's biggest worries were terrorism and extremism, but reiterated that his government is resolute in its resolve to eliminate these scourges with determination and courage.
"I want to reiterate that we are not scared of the terrorists. We will eliminate their oppression and barbarity through our determination and courage," the Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying at a flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of Pakistan's 62nd Independence Day anniversary here at the Convention Centre.
The Prime Minister said history is a testimony to the fact that oppressors and oppression are destined to be doomed and the oppressed will ultimately emerge triumphant.
The ceremony, telecast and broadcast live, was attended by the Speaker National Assembly, federal ministers, services chiefs, parliamentarians, diplomats, senior government officials and a large number of people from a cross-section of society.
Gilani spoke on a host of issues including the challenges faced by Pakistan, namely terrorism, economy, power crisis, democracy and foreign policy.
He said Islam is a religion of peace and tranquillity. He said love for humanity and reconciliation are an integral part of the Islamic faith, however, some self-seekers and extremists have created misgivings about Islam through their negative activities.
Referring to the military operation in Swat and Malakand Division, he said: "We opted for peaceful means to resolve this issue. But we had to take a difficult and inevitable decision to initiate military action in the best national interest when our peace efforts and patience were construed as our weaknesses."
He said the unity and solidarity shown by the nation against terrorism bolstered the courage of the armed forces who confronted the extremists and defeated them.
Gilani paid tributes to the military leadership, officers, soldiers and those martyrs who cleared the affected areas from the terrorists at the cost of their lives.
"The way the personnel of law enforcing agencies and the people faced the enemies of peace, is a matter of pride for the whole nation. I salute the martyrs, their parents and kith and kin on behalf of the nation," he added.
He, however, added the government believes that a durable solution to the problem of terrorism can be found through continued efforts to change the perceptions of the people.
The Prime Minister said the handling of the Internally Displaced Persons in camps was a great challenge for the government, which it has been able to surmount with the cooperation of the people and political parties.
He said the process of reconstruction and development will be accelerated in the affected areas.
Gilani said the minorities also had to face terrorism, adding, however, 'let me state unequivocally that the constitution provides all the civil rights to the minorities'.
The Prime Minister recalled the address of the Quaid-i-Azam to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan when he had stated: 'In the state of Pakistan all the minorities will be free to lead their lives according to their faith, go to their places of worship and practice their religion with full freedom. You may belong to any religion, race and caste, the state will make no distinction amongst you,' and assured that the government will ensure strict adherence to Quaid's proclamation. (ANI)