=> ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: President Pervez Musharraf has -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: President Pervez Musharraf has

ISLAMABAD, Feb 14: President Pervez Musharraf has rejected opinion surveys conducted by foreign organisations and said opinions of 3,000 people cannot be taken as the opinion of 160 million people of the country.

He asked foreign organisations and NGOs, especially those conducting such surveys not to “disturb the peace of this region. You are playing with the peace of the world.”

Addressing a conference, ‘Unite for Elections’, organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting here on Thursday, the president said that the media and foreign organisations must not create a perception that the elections were rigged. “It would push us into a bind,” he said, adding that he and his government were trying to take the country out of this bind. “It will seriously harm the country.”

He warned against what he called exaggerated expectations of political parties taking part in the polls and said that ground realities should be accepted and results should be allowed to speak for themselves. “Whoever wins may form the government and if there is no majority for a single party, there can be a coalition government.”

Expressing doubt about the people selected for the opinion polls, President Musharraf said that the NGOs involved were biased against the government. “Declaring certain candidates or parties winner is malicious and disturbs peace.”

He assured that the Feb 18 elections would be free, fair and transparent and said that pre-judging election results raised undue hopes and might result in violence during and after the polls.

The elections would be rigging-free and peaceful as the whole world would be watching, he said, adding that no-one would be allowed to disturb peace and the election process.

President Musharraf said that the country was combating extremism and terrorism and the environment of agitation and chaos would not be tolerated.

He warned those planning an agitation during and after the elections and said: “All those who think that they could disturb country’s peace must not test the resolve of the government.”

He said that some parties were claiming 80 per cent results in their favour which, he added, amounted to creating false expectations.

The president said he was the “greatest believer” in democracy which could take the country forward on the path of socio-economic development and not towards economic bankruptcy and a failed state.

He called upon the people not to be misled by any deceit and false propaganda and to differentiate between reality and myth.

Minister for Information Nisar Memon said that a free media was vital for democracy. He said that the people themselves would judge the outcome of the elections.

Source: Dawn
Date:2/15/2008