Mr. Speaker, on
behalf of myself and my delegation, present in this hall, permit me to
extend my warmest congratulations to you on the assumption of your high
distinguished Members of the Congress, As Salaam-o-Alaikum. Peace be with
We gather together,
friends and partners, who have fought, side by side, in the cause of
We gather together to
celebrate freedom, to celebrate democracy, to celebrate the three most
beautiful words in the English language: `We the People.'
I stand here conscious
of the honor you bestow on my country and on me.
I am not new to America.
I recall fondly my 4 years I spent here as a student at Harvard.
America is a land of
America is a land of
Your products are sent
all over the world, a tribute to the creativity and productivity of your
But your greatest export
is not material.
Your greatest export is
not a product.
Your greatest export is
contribution to the world is its concept of democracy, its concept of
freedom, freedom of action, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought.
President Bush, in his
inaugural address, spoke of a new breeze across America. In fact, this new
breeze is sweeping the whole world.
In Afghanistan, the
people have freed their country of foreign occupation.
In South America, the
generals are returning to their barracks and the people to the halls of
In the Orient, the old
order is changing and the demands growing.
Glasnost and perestroika
are shaking the East bloc--the ultimate tribute to the strength of freedom,
to the desire of people wherever they live to control their own destiny.
And it is the words of
Lincoln, that are quoted--`a government of the people, by the people, for
For many of us, the root
of all this progress, the foundation of democracy, lies on this continent,
200 years ago, in your covenant of freedom, in words penned by Madison--`We
My presence before you
is a testament to the force of freedom and democracy in Pakistan.
Throughout 1988 the call
for democratic change in Pakistan grew louder.
After a decade of
repression the wave of freedom surged in Pakistan.
On November 16, the
people of Pakistan participated in the first party-based elections in 11
The Pakistan People's
Party won a convincing victory, showing wide national support all across the
four provinces of our great country. Democracy had at last returned to
We the people had
We the people had
In its first days, our
new government released political prisoners, legalized labor and student
unions, and restored press freedoms.
We signaled our right of
recognition to the role of the opposition in a democratic society, giving
them free and regular access to the state media for the first time in our
We set as our focus
reconciliation, not retribution.
Some claimed to fear
revenge, revenge against the murderers and torturers, revenge against those
who subverted constitutional law.
But, ladies and
gentlemen, there was no revenge.
For them, and for
dictators across the world--democracy is the greatest revenge.
For us the election was
the end to an unspeakable ordeal.
A democratic government
was overthrown in a military coup, and for 11 years dictatorship ruled our
Political parties were
There was no freedom of
The Constitution was
suspended and amended into virtual nonexistence.
Women were subjugated,
and laws written specifically to discriminate against them.
Political opponents were
imprisoned, tortured, and hanged. It was the luckier ones who went into
Our struggle was driven
by faith--faith in our people's ability to resist--faith in our religion,
Islam, which teaches us that `tyranny cannot endure; tyranny cannot endure.'
It is this same faith
which has fueled the battle for freedom next door in Afghanistan.
Both our countries have
stood alongside the Afghans in their struggle for more than a decade.
For 10 long years the
people of Pakistan have provided sanctuary to our Afghan brothers and
We have nurtured and
sustained their families.
More than 3 million
refugees are on our soil. Still more are coming, fleeing the bloodshed.
And we have welcomed
them, housed them, and fed them.
And for 10 long years,
the United States, in a united bipartisan effort of three administrations
and six Congresses, has stood side by side with Pakistan, and the brave
We both deserve to be
proud of that effort.
But that effort did not
come without a price. Our villages were strafed, our people killed.
Our peaceful country has
changed. The war has brought the curse of drug addiction to Pakistan--over 1
million heroin addicts--to a land that never before knew it.
Our forests and natural
resources have been depleted.
Yet our commitment to
pay the price for freedom has not been shaken.
And now despite the
Soviet withdrawal, peace has not returned to Afghanistan.
Even now the Soviet
Government is giving full backing to the Kabul regime's efforts to cling to
It has left in its
possession vast quantities of lethal weapons--weapons supplemented by a
regular supply of hardware including Scud missiles, some of which have
already hit Pakistan territory.
More threats have been
received, threats to supply new weapons never before seen in the region.
The Soviets have gone.
But the force of foreign arms continues to deny Afghanistan the ultimate
fruit of victory--self-determination.
Those responsible for a
decade of death and destruction now blame us for the continuing bloodshed.
They accuse us of
interfering in Afghanistan. Nothing is farther from the truth, and nothing
is more unjust.
Our concerns are for a
stable, independent and neutral Afghanistan, an Afghanistan where the people
can choose their own system, their own government in free and fair
We in Pakistan would
like to see the refugees return to their homes in peace and dignity.
conflict is not over. It has entered its closing stage, a stage often the
most complex and difficult.
Pakistan and the United States have traveled a long road with the Afghans in
their quest for self-determination.
Let us not at this
stage, out of impatience or fatigue become indifferent. We cannot, we must
not abandon their cause.
The world community must
rise to the challenge which lies ahead. The challenge of achieving a
broad-based, political settlement to the war, of rebuilding a shattered
country, of helping the victims of war, of developing the Afghan economy.
Mr. Speaker, now
Pakistan and the United States enter a new phase of an enduring
relationship. Our shared interests and common international goals have not
disappeared. If anything they have been strengthened.
Our partnership is not a
friendship of convenience. For decades we have been tied together by mutual
international goals, and by shared interests.
But something new has
entered into the equation of bilateral relations--democracy.
We are now moral as well
as political partners. Two elected governments bonded together in a common
respect for constitutional government, accountability, and a commitment to
Because of the intensity
of our struggle for freedom, we will never take it for granted in Pakistan.
institutions are still new and need careful tending.
have never believed that it could successfully address the problems of
developing countries. But democracy in Pakistan must succeed to signal
nations in political transition all over the world that freedom is on the
This is the time in
Pakistan when democracy's friends must come forward. We need the time and
the resources to build a truly strong constitutional government. If we
succeed all democracies share in that success.
Today we are on the
threshold of a new democratic partnership between our two countries,
addressing new priorities. A partnership which addresses both our security
concerns and our social and economic needs. A partnership which will carry
us into the 21st century--strong in mutual trust, close in common interest,
constant to the values we share; working in association with democratic
governments all across the world to promote the values of freedom. This is
the partnership, the new democratic Pakistan we hope to build with your
The time is right, my
friends, to make miracles in Pakistan. The dictatorship of the past has
given way to the forces of the future. The years of social and economic
neglect beg for redress. So I come to this land of freedom to talk about the
future. The future of my country and the future of freedom everywhere. The
future of our children--my child--and yours.
I come before you to
declare that we cannot choose between development and democracy. We must
work for both.
Partners in democracy
must now focus attention on urgent problems which affect mankind as a whole.
The widening gap between
rich and poor countries; environmental pollution; drug abuse and
trafficking; the pressure of population on world resources; and full
economic participation for women everywhere.
We must join together to
find remedies and solutions for these problems before they overcome us.
Of all the crises facing
us, my government is giving the highest priority to the problem of drug
We are determined to
eradicate this plague from our country. To that end we have established a
new Ministry for Narcotics Control.
We are taking vigorous
action against drug offenders.
cooperation--and that of other nations--must be strengthened if we are to
turn back the tide of drugs sweeping your nation and mine.
So, too, must we work
together, as partners, to avert the catastrophe of a nuclear arms race.
Speaking for Pakistan, I
can declare that we do not possess nor do we intend to make a nuclear
That is our policy.
We are committed to a
regional approach to the nuclear problem and we remain ready to accept any
safeguards, inspections, and verifications that are applied on a
nondiscriminatory regional basis.
Pakistan has long
advocated the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region.
A first step in that
direction could be a nuclear test ban agreement between Pakistan and its
neighbors in South Asia.
We are prepared for any
negotiation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in our region.
We will not provoke a
nuclear arms race in the subcontinent.
The United States has
long held a commitment to peace in South Asia.
It is a commitment which
It is in this spirit of
peace, of regional cooperation and bilateral partnership, that I come before
This then must be our
agenda, democracy and development, security and international cooperation.
The people of Pakistan
appreciate the assistance you have given us, the assistance which you
continue to give us.
Your military assistance
has helped maintain a relative balance in the region. It has contributed to
Pakistan's sense of security. It has strengthened the peace and stability of
the South Asian region.
Mr. Speaker, everywhere
the Sun is setting on the day of the dictator.
In Pakistan when the
moment came, the transition was peaceful.
The whole nation, the
whole nation, farmers, workers, the soldiers and civilians, men and women,
together heralded the return of democracy.
The people have taken
power in their hands.
But our work has just
My friends, freedom is
not an end. Freedom is a beginning.
And in Pakistan, at long
last, we are ready to begin.
Our two countries stood
together in the last decade to support the fight of the Afghan people for
Let us stand together
now as the people of Pakistan strive to give meaning to their new-found
Come with us toward a
tomorrow, better than all the yesterdays we knew.
History, the rush of
events, perhaps even destiny have brought me here today.
I am proud to be the
elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in this critical time.
It is an awesome
But in the words of John
Fitzgerald Kennedy--`I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome
As a representative of
the young, let me be viewed as one of a new generation of leaders unshackled
by the constraints and irrational hatreds of the past.
As a representative of
women, let my message be to them, `Yes you can!'
As a believer of Islam
in this august Chamber, let my message be about a compassionate and tolerant
religion, teaching hard work and family values under a merciful God, for
that is the Islam and that is the Islam which we must all come to
For me and the people of
Pakistan, the last 11 years have encompassed a painful odyssey.
My countrymen and I did
not see our loved ones killed, or tortured, or lashed, or languished in
solitary confinement, deprived of basic human rights and freedom in order
that others might again suffer such indignities.
We sacrificed a part of
our lives and bore the pain of confronting tyranny to build a just society.
We believed in
ourselves, in our cause, in our people and in our country.
And when you believe,
then there is no mountain too high to scale.
That is my message to
the youth of America, to its women, and to its people.
Thank you distinguished