Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari addressed a joint session of parliament Saturday, telling lawmakers the country is better off than it was a year ago. He said, “the world can see that the march of democracy goes on.”
Mr. Zardari has faced a steady stream of criticism and renewed furor over allegations he and his late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, laundered millions of dollars through Swiss bank accounts in the 1990s. Opposition lawmakers expressed their displeasure with Mr. Zardari, jeering loudly before eventually walking out on the speech.
Despite the interruptions. Mr. Zardari pressed on, promising to continue the military crackdown on militants based along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistani president said he would “continue to show force against them ,” saying ongoing operations have already begun to pay off.
Mr. Zardari's speech was his fifth to a joint session of Pakistan's parliament, more than any other civilian president. It comes ahead of this week's debate that will focus on the future of Pakistan – U.S. relations.
Pakistan essentially cut off ties with the U.S. following an errant NATO bombing run that killed 24 Pakistani troops last November. Islamabad responded by closing its border to NATO supply convoys crossing into Afghanistan. VoA