Text of the speech by Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to his party's workers and support in New York on May 21
I have travelled to America at what may be the most critical point in the 65 year relationship between Pakistan and the United States.For one year our countries have weathered a series of crises that have tested our partnership. The unilateral action in Abbottabad made many in Pakistan question whether the United States actually considered Pakistan a military ally in our common war on terrorism and extremism. The Raymond Davis fiasco made many in our country question the roe and authority of CIA activities in Pakistan. The continuing unilateral US drone attacks on Pakistani soil was a constant irritant to Pakistani public opinion — both as a clear violation of our sovereignty and the toll of collateral damage to innocent victims. These illegal strikes, that violate international law and even the US’s war powers act, must end.
And possibly most egregiously the NATO attack which left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead at Salala has not resulted in an apology to the families or to our nation. I would like the American public to consider what their reaction would have been if American troops had been killed in such an attack on their border with Mexico. I urge President Obama to show some courage. I understand he is running for re-election but if he is the same man who inspired the world with his message of hope and change the future of NATO mission in Afghanistan should be more important than poll numbers. Pakistan deserves an apology.
It is ludicrous to keep demanding Pakistan do more under these circumstances. Over 4,000 Pakistani troops have been martyred in this war. That is more than all NATO forces combined. It is time for the US to do more.
This is truly a moment of tension and re examination. We are at a crossroads. The future of the bilateral relationship could well determine the success of moderation against extremism in South and Central Asia.
It is propitious, therefore, that I am with you tonight in New York.
Today I proudly attended the ceremony where the documentary BHUTTO received the prestigious Peabody award, the most coveted honor in electronic journalism anywhere in the world.
When Mark accepted the award, he said “I accept this honour for the bravest woman I have ever known, Benazir, and for all who died fighting for democracy in Pakistan.” And then, to all assembled “Jeay Bhutto!”
My mother lived and died fighting for democracy, for human rights, for women’s rights, for moderation against extremism, for modernity against ignorance, for a future better than any of the pasts we have ever known.
That is why I am in America today, to do everything in my power to bring Pakistan and the United States back on track so that we can jointly achieve my mother’s dream.
We have much to be proud of.
Our PPP government, against all odds, will be the first civilian government to complete a full five year term in the history of Pakistan.
Our government, under the leadership of President Zardari and PM Gilani has accomplished what no other government could do in forty years — we have restored our 1973 Constitution and restored the rule of law to Pakistan.
Our Benazir support program has infused capital into our rural areas, targeting micro loans to the women of Pakistan. It has served the dual goals of woman empowerment and poverty alleviation . It has lifted 6 million families out of poverty.
We have dramatically reduced inflation.
We have met head on our energy and agriculture crises and have now turned the economic corner.
We have created a business friendly financial environment which is now once again attracting foreign investment in Pakistan.
And as Europe falls into a double dip recession with negative economic growth, I am proud to say that our PPP government has produced a 4 percent growth in GNP, against all odds and all expectations. Bloomberg news recently rated the Karachi Stock Exchange as the 4th best performing in the world.
And our National Assembly has done more to protect the rights of our mothers, sisters and daughters than all of the governments of Pakistan’s past combined, from safeguards against domestic violence and abuse to property rights.
We have much to be proud of, but much left to be done.
Ours is a proud Nation that has fiercely resisted the terrorist menace and paid a mind boggling price. Over 37,000 civilians dead. More than 6300 police and soldiers cut down.
And the assassination of our greatest leader, one of the greatest leaders in the world Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, my beloved mother.
No nation has paid a greater price for our freedom.
We have not come this far to fail.
This is my message to you.
This is my message to the people of America.
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