President Asif Ali Zardari has congratulated all the parliamentarians, political parties and the nation on tabling Constitutional Package before the Parliament, terming the reforms first in 30 years, ARY NEWS reported.

Addressing the joint session of the National Assembly and Senate here at the Parliament House Monday held to mark the commencement of third parliamentary year, the President praised all the political forces on observing wisdom and preferring national interests while charting the reforms.

“We are proud of tabling the constitutional amendment before the Parliament. The masses have been given their rights first time and the supremacy of the Parliament has been restored.”

"I call upon the parliament to pass the eighteenth constitutional amendment bill without delay... The people of Pakistan are keenly watching and waiting for this crucial reforms bill to pass," he said.

“The provinces are being given autonomy. The NWFP has been given a name that better represents it and Gilgit-Baltistan was awarded their due status. We are making history by reviving the Constitution of 1973,” Zardari said, terming the constitution a gift of his late father-in-law and former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

“Few people think this democracy is fragile. Yes the democratic government is weak but not irresponsible. It knows what its responsibilities are,” Zardari told the house. He, however, said “a lot of work has yet to be done.”
In an apparent reference to the judiciary, Zardari called on all to uphold the supremacy of the constitution. "This requires that each pillar of the state work in its constitutional limits, and does not trample on the domain of others," he said.

"For stability and development, each organ of the state must work within the parameters of the constitution. We believe in reconciliation, and not confrontation," he said.

“It’s surely a day of Benazir,” President told the house amid thumping of desks. He recalled his late wife and two-time former premier many times in his speech.

After the address of the President, the Parliament would start debating the proposed 18th Amendment.

The President also mentioned two-year performance of the government and also termed challenges of extremism and terrorism as the biggest threats to national security and sovereignty.

In a wide-ranging speech, the president promised to fight militants challenging the writ of the state, adding that no one would be allowed to use Pakistani soil for attacks on other countries.

Zardari also called for "an honourable and peaceful settlement of all outstanding disputes" with old rival India.

"We do not want an arms race in the region," he said, while noting that Indian defence spending did not help the cause of arms reduction.

He also promised to improve the economy and help the poor.

The President, talking about the national reconciliation policy, said PPP government wants all democratic institutions strengthened and sovereign as per the ideology and philosophy given by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

Earlier, the house offered fateha for the victims of Timegara and Peshawar terrorist attacks occurred earlier today. The issue was raised on a point of order by President Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan, while Minister of State for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi led the prayer.