ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf Thursday announced to lift the state of emergency from the country and to withdraw the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) on December 16, hours after being sworn in as a civilian President for the next term. Addressing the nation on state run television, Musharraf said that emergency rule had “saved the nation” and called upon all political parties to take part in general elections due to be held on January 8, 2008.
He said that he had declared the emergency on November 3 because as the very existence of our nation was in danger. He defended his decision to declare emergency rule, calling it “extraordinary,” but necessary. “I was elected with 57 percent votes and there was a conspiracy to abort that,” he said. Musharraf said that there had been an outburst of terrorism, which emergency rule had helped deal with. He said the decision to join the war on terror was taken in the interest of the country, “We have broken the back of terrorists,” he claimed.
“I think now things have improved, the administration is now on the right track and terrorism has been brought under control,” he said. “It is my intention to lift the state of emergency from the country on December 16, withdraw PCO the same day and hold the general elections as per the announced schedule and according to the Constitution,” the President said.
Situation in the country had improved since the emergency was declared, with successes against terrorists and a democratic transition is underway, he claimed. “I hope no obstacles will be created to de-stabilize the process as was done in the past,” he cautioned.
“We want democracy to flourish in our country. We also want civil liberties and human rights, but we will do it our way,” said the resolute Musharraf. “We understand our society, our environment, better than anyone in the West,” he added.
He also lauded the services of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and ex-members of the Cabinet, saying they successfully run the state of affairs of the country for the past five years in highly challenging circumstances. “Whatever I have done so far and will do in future will have one and only purpose and that is to upheld the interest of the country,” he said.-SANA