Saturday, November 03, 2007

State Of Emergency-Pakistan

President General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday declared that the state of emergency was imposed in the country to safeguard the national interests and counter growing terrorism and the downward trend of economy. Addressing the nation on radio and television, he said Pakistan today was standing at cross roads and the time has come to take hard decisions.

“If we don’t take those decisions then there is a grave danger to the solidarity and security of the country,” he added.

He said that he has taken the decision of emergency as his guiding principal has always been “Pakistan first”.

“My guiding principal has always been Pakistan first. I am sure the whole nation thinks on similar pattern.”

President Musharraf said terrorism and extremism had reached its pinnacle and the incidents of suicide attacks throughout the country had increased manifold. “These extremists were roaming around freely in the country while the law enforcing agencies have become demoralised creating concern among the general public,” he added. These elements, he said, were forcibly trying to impose the extremist and backward views of Islam on otherwise moderate people of Pakistan which is a direct challenge to the security of Pakistan.

President Musharraf said the working of government was semi-paralysed as the government functionaries were made to go to courts, particularly the Supreme Court, where they were subjected to humiliation. He lamented that the Supreme Court was hearing over 100 cases where the court had taken suo moto notice while another 1000 applications were pending against various government institutions.

President Musharraf also regretted that the law enforcement agencies were particularly demoralized in the federal capital as two Inspector General of Police were convicted. “This has only demoralized the police force,” he added.

He said various hurdles were being created in the democratic process under a planned strategy for personal and vested interests. Pakistan, he added, under a three-staged transition plan was smoothly moving towards democracy. He said in the first stage, from 1999 to 2002, he was in control of the situation.

In the second stage from 2002 to 2007, he said, his role was only supervisory, where the parliament, provincial assemblies and local government system was in place.

He said in the last phase, which was to be completed in the next three months, he was to act as the civilian president and the country would have moved to complete civil democracy after holding of the general election.

Musharraf said it was the third phase which was being subverted by the vested interests.

President Musharraf said it was due to the hurdles being created by some elements having political and vested interests that the upsurge in the country’s economy achieved during the last over seven years was impeding and there were indications of down-slide in the economy.

He said the foreign investors who were pumping in the heavy investments into Pakistan are now hesitant to make their investments due to internal situation and were adopting a wait and see policy. “We have to check this situation”, he added.

The President mentioned the economic turn-around achieved by Pakistan during the last seven years and said it brought about socio-economic improvement in the life of people.

He also mentioned unprecedented development and economic and industrial activities in the country including infrastructure development, construction of roads, fly-overs, dams, brick-lining of canals and water courses, fast track development in telecommunication, mobile phones, Information Technology and the setting up of thousands of industries.

The President said there was marked improvement in social sector including healh and education, with focus on primary and secondary health and the promotion of educational institutions at every level. He said it was a rising and forward moving Pakistan and if God forbid something happens which ruins what was achieved during the last seven years, it would be very unfortunate.

“I cannot see it going downward,” the President said and added it was due to this situation that there was a feeling of disappointment and uncertainty among the people and nation.

The President said he was receiving telephone calls from the people from home and abroad with the questions that “why I am not taking any decision” to check the situation.

“I continued to hear and see all these things quietly and with uncertainty with the hope that the judiciary and the government institutions would be able to tackle the situation”, he said and added but it could not happen and the situation continued to move from bad to worse.

President Musharraf said it was unfortunate that the media and some channels also did not help in curbing the projection of this negative thinking, rather they stimulated such negative thinking. The President said it was he and the present government that gave freedom to media as there was only PTV in 1999, adding, he still believes in the freedom of media but it should also be responsive.

He said in his view the judicial activism and interference of the judiciary in the matters of executive and legislature, after the March 9 happenings, also paralyzed the normal system.

The President recalled the issue of a legal reference against Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and said he acted upon the advice of the Prime Minister and sent the reference to the Supreme Judicial Council in line with the law and constitution and without any prejudice.

He, added that he and the government accepted the Supreme Court verdict on the issue with good faith and adopted a reconciliatory approach so as to end the situation of confrontation for the benefit of the country.

The President, however, said that it was unfortunate that the issue did not stop despite cooperation from the government side. He also mentioned the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) issue and said it badly hit the image and standing of Pakistan with a lot of embarrassment, as some extremists were taking law in their hands, kidnapping and making the people hostage, burning shops and even made some Chinese hostage.

The President said “ultimately we had to take action.” He lauded the law enforcement agencies and their personnel who lost their lives for national causes.

President Musharraf said unfortunately the Supreme Court gave its verdict and released 61 terrorists who have again indulged in terrorist activities.

He said nobody knows that some of these terrorists could be involved in the incidents in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Sargodha as these are at large.

President Musharraf said government was not against madrassa but only against those involved in extremism. He said courts also ordered to reopen those madrassa, which were involved in extremism. He said government wanted to promote high standard madrassa to promote education and prepared a comprehensive plan in this regard.

President Musharraf while referring to the issue of Lal Masjid said, some of the elements have taken over the responsibility of security of the mosque although these do not require any security.

The President said those elements and their relatives have again challenged the government and were speaking against the law enforcing agencies who are fighting against the extremists.

Referring to the process of presidential election, President Musharraf said the whole procedure was adopted purely in a constitutional and legal manner. He said Election Commission of Pakistan examined all the nomination papers and his nomination papers were accepted after completing the legal process of scrutiny.

He said acceptance of his nomination papers were challenged before the Supreme Court and proceedings were lingering on in the court and it caused uncertainty in the country.

Thanking the members of the parliament, for voting him in the presidential election, he said, he got 57 per cent votes in this election which was completed in a constitutional manner.

He said although the results of election of President were announced unofficially but due to cases in the Supreme Court, the official results could not be announced which was causing unrest and uncertainty.

President Musharraf said the Prime Minister also took serious notice of this uncertainty and wrote to him that it was difficult for him to run the government.

He said he was worried that due to these actions, the country was going in wrong direction. The President said the country was infact his heart, blood and spirit and he could see it going downward, therefore he took the action.

Musharraf said the main purpose to proclaim state of emergency was to stop the downward trend in the country in the economic sector and to create harmony in the three pillars of government, judiciary, executive and legislative.

He said with harmony in all the pillars of the state, good governance would be ensured and it could face the threats of extremism and terrorism.

The President said it was the only way to put the country back on the track for the progress and prosperity.

He said he consulted with his friends, army colleagues, government officials, political and private friends within the country and abroad before taking this step.

The President said the action taken today would ensure completion of transition to democratic process without delay and added the state of emergency would remove impediments in the way of democracy.

President Musharraf said there will be no change in the federal and provincial governments and prime minister, all the governors and chief ministers and the assemblies including the senate would continue to function.

He said in his opinion, it was the easiest way to ensure continuity in the policies and economic development of the country and to complete the last transitional phase of democracy as promised.

Giving a strong and clear message to the world, especially the West, U.S. European Union and Commonwealth, the President Musharraf said, Pakistan is on the verge of destabilisation and if not acted in time, the upsurge trend and all achievements in the last 7 years will go down.

“I cannot allow the country to commit suicide, therefore, I had to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition I initiated eight years back.”

He asked the international community to understand the criticality in Pakistan.

President Musharraf especially mentioned the democratic rule of 2002-07 that he oversaw as President and Chief of Army Staff.

He said, he also promised that he will be civilian President, if elected which was the third phase.

The President told the international community that they should not accept or demand their level of democracy which they learnt over four centuries.

“Please give us time. Please do not accept the same level of civil liberties and human rights that you earned over centuries,” he added.

The President said he was always ready to sacrifice his life for the country but he never surrendered to the difficulties and always faced these with courage and determination for the people and for its progress and prosperity.

He expressed the hope that the people will extend support to him so that he could put the country back on the track of progress and prosperity.

The President asked the nation to unite to face the challenges of extremists and terrorists and those who are killing innocent people.


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