ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf announced that general elections will take place on January 8 “come hell or high water.” He made the announcement in his address after taking as oath for five-year term as civilian President. He hoped the politicians would not repeat the 1990s political culture.
The President Pervez said it is an historic day and a milestone in the transition to complete the essence of democracy. He expressed his gratitude to the Pakistani nation for reposing confidence in him and expressed his confidence that he will succeed and take Pakistan forward on the path that he followed meaning to a full transition to democracy.
He said during the last eight years they toiled hard faced a lot of challenges including nine eleven decision, confrontation and standoff on the eastern border for a year and the menace of terrorism. He said they introduced essence of democracy in Pakistan through local government system, empowered them financially, administratively and politically.
The government, he said also empowered women through reserved seats, minorities through joint electorates and reserved seats and the youth of Pakistan by reducing the voting age from twenty one to eighteen years. It organised general elections to National and Provincial Assemblies and the Senate and liberated the media.
The President however said some elements of the judiciary tried to derail the third phase of democratic transition which could have led the nation to a chaos. He said the process of derailment of transition to democracy has been checked and they have put the third phase of transition back on the rail.
Referring to some political parties who are talking of boycott, the President categorically stated that elections will be held on the 8th of January, come what may. He praised the Supreme Court for giving a verdict on his eligibility for election to the office of the President. Turning to national consensus Mr. Pervez Musharraf said Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are back and this is good for political reconciliation.
Pointing to the presence of diplomats and particularly addressing those from the developed countries, the President said he feels there is an unrealistic and an impracticable obsession that their form of democracy, human rights, civil liberties which took centuries to acquire and learn can be introduced in the developing countries in few years. He said in Pakistan we would like to move in that direction but it will take time.
Later, the President was given a guard of honour which he reviewed. He also met with the guests present on the occasion. “I am grateful to the nation for placing this confidence in me,” he said. “Now we are moving towards the third phase of the democracy.”
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.” Musharraf hoped that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif would work for betterment of the country. He said he personally thinks that return of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir would prove good for the country. He said the nation would soon hear good news from the border areas.-SANA