General elections on January 8
KARACHI (APP) – President General Pervez Musharraf said Sunday that he is recommending to the Election Commission to hold the polls in the country on January 8.
He was speaking as chief guest at the farewell dinner held for the MPAs and Advisers of Sindh at the Chief Minister House here.
Sindh Governor, Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan, Chief Minister, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, were also present on the occasion.
The President said :”Inshallah, the general elections in the country would be held on January 8″. The President described the farewell function as a historic one saying that such a gathering was never held before.
He said the ceremony is historic on two counts. Firstly, the assemblies never completed their full term. Secondly, a send off has been arranged in a very good manner as it should be in any civilised society.
Gen Pervez Musharraf said the MPAs would now be going for the next general elections and hoped that they would return.
He pointed out that in the past the prime ministers were ousted through the exercise of Constitution’s Article 58 (2)B.
The President said he has been emphasising from the very beginning that whatever the situation may be such a power should not be exercised.
This, he added, may only be used when the country faces any danger.
Gen Musharraf said he has always been saying that the National and Provincial assemblies should complete their terms and elections be conducted in a smooth manner.
He stated that for the continuity of on-going projects, the outgoing ministers should also brief about such schemes so that these could be moved ahead in a proper manner.
The President said he is proud that he has fulfilled his promise that the assemblies would complete their full terms and then elections would be organised.
Referring to Sindh, he said the coalition of PML, PML (F) and MQM which appeared difficult was run in an effective manner.
He said the credit for this goes to the Speaker for effectively running the Assembly. The credit also goes to the Chief Minister and the Governor of Sindh for a balanced role.
The President said the credit also goes to Pir Saheb Pagaro and MQM Chief Altaf Hussain.
He stated that his intention was the betterment of the province and the country and that the same were the feelings of these leaders.
Gen Musharraf said he hoped that in the time ahead this coalition would continue and would work for the betterment of Sindh.
The President said he is recommending to the Election Commission for holding the polls in the country on January 8.
He asked the coalition partners to show unity for still better performance in the coming elections, set aside petty differences and rise above self ego.
Gen Musharraf said the coalition should come up with merit- based candidates, ones capable of winning should be brought into the field in a harmonious manner.
He thanked the MPAs for voting for him in the presidential election and said he got 57 per cent votes.
The President also thanked the MPAs for assisting in the completion of mega projects for the province and for the continuity of policies which were framed from 1999 to 2002.
He said he was also thankful to them for carrying forward his vision for the province as well as the country.
Gen Musharraf also referred to the mega projects for Sindh on the occasion.
He said the RBOD project would be completed soon and the saline water would be diverted into the sea.
The President said there are huge reserves of coal in Thar and this has been activated for the development of the desert as well as the province.
He also referred to the project of Ranie Canal as well as the water courses’ brick lining.
Gen Musharraf said the raising of Mangla Dam would hopefully be completed by the middle of next year and three million acre feet additional water would thus be available and from this Sindh would also get a share.
He stated that the present government has done a lot of work in Sindh and this should be conveyed to the masses.
The President dispelled the impression that he took certain measures to perpetuate himself.
He pointed out that the step taken on March 9 was to avert a conflict between judiciary, executive and parliament which was leading to political uncertainty and the economy was also being affected.
These steps were also aimed at bringing harmony among the three pillars of the state.
The President said the step he had taken on November 3 was in the interest of the country.
He further pointed out that now when we are going for the general elections, there are certain elements who want to create disturbance and are talking of boycott.
Gen Musharraf said those who do not have confidence in themselves resort to boycott and that such elements know that they would lose the election and that is why they are thinking of resort to boycott.
He stated that he wants that the political campaign should move ahead in a harmonious manner.
The President said the Election Commission is determining rules to this effect.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim said the credit for completion of the term of assemblies goes to President Musharraf.
He said that the promise President Musharraf had made with the nation to this effect has been fulfilled.
The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to President Musharraf for his visionary leadership.
On the occasion, the President also gave away shields to the representatives of the coalition group in the Sindh Assembly.
Shahzada Zulfiqar from Quetta adds: President Musharraf has said that Pakistan comes first and constitution and democracy later, adding he measured that sovereignty and integrity should be at the top.
He stated this while speaking to Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousaf, provincial ministers and assembly members in farewell meeting here at Quetta Club in cantonment area on Sunday. He said that the country was not for constitution and democracy, but they were for the former and that was why the important thing was to save the country. He said that the country had reached to bankruptcy when he took over in 1999 and he steered out it from the crises by improving its economy. President said that he fulfilled the promise he made with the nation that assemblies would complete their tenure. He said that for the first time a Prime Minister received guard of honour while leaving the power.
He said that it was the election year and every one and party should take part in it for
strengthening democracy. He expressed his best wishes for the assembly members and said that they might return through the elections and would continue to support his policies for the betterment of the country and Balochistan. He also thanked the assembly members of the province for electing him with majority votes in the recent held presidential elections and said not a single vote was spoiled during the polling. He assured them to continue the pace of development in Balochistan and said that in coming years, there would be progress and prosperity with leap and bounds in the field of communication and human development. He said that three new dams namely Toi, Winder and Bolan would be constructed while after completion of Kachhi canal, a large area would be brought under cultivation. He said that after completion of major schemes of roads, Balochistan would have easy access to central Asian countries that would be helpful for the promotion of trade and commerce. He said that he initiated the work on three mega projects Gwadar port, coastal highway and Sobakzai dam and completed them that would have a very positive impact for the development of the area and prosperity of the people. He said that injustices of successive governments with Balochistan caused sense of deprivation in the province and his government decided to bring Balochistan at par with other developed areas for removing that ill feeling of people.
Source: The Nation