ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has said that he has requested the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to send a Scotland Yard investigation team to Pakistan to help assist Pakistani investigators probing the assassination of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and urged people, private and foreign media not to compound the situation. Addressing the nation over radio and television networks on Wednesday evening, he thanked the British Prime Minister for accepting the request of Pakistan in this regard and expressed the confidence that the association of foreign experts would remove all apprehensions and confusions surrounding the investigations.He said there have been several more facts coming to light besides photo clips, technical evidence and eye witnesses’ account which necessitate carrying out of investigations in an expert manner.
He said to control the law and order situation, Rangers and Pakistan army has been deployed and they would continue to perform their duty up to elections and beyond that as the government wants to ensure law and order. He said he also directed the Prime Minister to compensate those who suffered losses through a compensation package to be worked out. The President said no agitation and chaos would be allowed in the country. He said army and rangers would be deployed across the country to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful holding of general elections. Musharraf said he was fully committed to holding elections on January 8 but after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the Election Commission assessed the situation and decided to postpone them till February 18.
President Pervez Musharraf said the country has faced a grave tragedy of assassination of Benazir Bhutto at the hands of terrorists. Since the martyrdom of the former Prime Minister, situation has deteriorated to the extent that conspiracy theories are being promoted in the country, he added. He said it is understandable that there is anger, dismay and sorrow among the workers of the PPP and I fully share their grief and anguish and respect their emotions.Musharraf further said that the PPP was expressing its sentiments in the right way but the miscreants came into action burning and damaging public property and also looting. The country suffered irreparable losses as a result of the actions of the miscreants. Petrol pumps were burnt and the rest were shut down. The transport remained off the road and the labourers were left without jobs.
He said Pakistan Railways suffered tremendous heavy losses. The tracks were uprooted, bogies and locomotives were burnt and a large number of passengers remained stranded as result of railway suspension. Houses of many people and shops including jewelry and ammunition were first looted and then burnt. The miscreants also attacked jails and set the criminal free. The equipment of the election commission was destroyed at polling stations which caused immense difficulties for the staff of the election commission, he added.
The President pointed out that the violence, loot and arson has the political colour as well because businesses of the political opponents were targeted. He said the exact extent of the damage is not yet known but according to preliminary assessment it runs over 100 billion rupees. President also directed the Prime Minister to set up a commission and identify those who caused the losses to property and businesses and hold them accountable. He said the extent of destruction of public and private property is beyond imagination. He directed for taking stern action against those responsible for the pillage and looting and registration of FIRs against them. He said those prisoners who were set free by the miscreants in jail break incidents must be apprehended at the earliest. He said those displaying weapons must not be spared and should be arrested on sight.
He said after the destruction of public and private property and law and order situation especially in the Sindh province has created a situation where the deployment of rangers and army for ensuring peaceful atmosphere for the holding of the elections has become essential. He said this would stem any kind of agitation or destructive activities whether by any political party or miscreant elements.He regretted that the massive developmental activities undertaken by the government in Sindh during the last seven years have suffered at the hands of the miscreants.
President identified Baitinullah Mahasud and Maulana Fazlullah against whom media campaign should be launched as they are involved in the killing of innocent people. He appealed the media to expose them and initiate a campaign against them which would encourage the law enforcement agencies in their campaign against the terrorists. The President said we must reach to the roots of terrorism and must apprehend those who are master minds and are involved in brain washing the youth forcing them to commit terrorist acts.
He said this would be done with the backing of the entire nation. He said they even went to the extent of killing the innocent faithful offering Eid prayer. He said children, air force personnel, personnel of the ISI were attacked. They are the same people who have assassinated the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf added.He appealed to the people to help maintain peace and law and order and do not support those indulging in violence and chaos. He said this is time for political reconciliation and not confrontation. The President urged all the political parties to rise above politics and personal interests, understand sensitivity of the situation and think about Pakistan.
Addressing especially the Peoples Party and people of Sindh, the President said the mission of Benazir Bhutto was promotion of democracy and struggle against terrorism and extremism. He said his mission is also exactly that and he is determined to consolidate democracy and eliminate terrorism and extremism. This, he said, is the question of development and survival of Pakistan. He expressed the confidence that a constitutional and democratic government would come into being after elections and it would take the country further ahead on the road to progress and development. The President appealed to the people to back up army, rangers, police and law enforcing agencies in their fight against terrorism and extremism.