Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said he is aware that "as a soldier" he cannot contest elections, but has rooted for the Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid (PML-Q), indicating his keen interest in political affairs.
In a clear response to his critics in the opposition, Musharraf told a rally in Gilgit that he was a soldier and therefore could not contest elections, The News reported.
He also said he would quit office the day people withdrew their support for him.
While declaiming against any move to retain his post as army chief and get re-elected for a second term as president, Musharraf made clear his political preference for the PML-Q that seeks to invoke the halo of Pakistan's founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
"If people want my leadership, they should cast votes in favour of my supporters. When people retract their support, I will quit power the same day," he said while addressing a public gathering at the Lalak Jan stadium and members of Northern Areas Legislative Council.
"If people want development, they should support the Pakistan Muslim League and ensure its success in the next general elections," he observed.
Musharraf also underscored the need for stamping out extremism, terrorism and prejudices for the sake of peace and development of the country, the newspaper said.
Promising development for the remote region, he said: "We are planning to work out a gas pipeline project besides laying the railway track to China and Central Asian republics through the Karakoram highway, keeping in view the geo-strategic significance of the Northern Areas."
A major controversy has been fanned by the PML-Q leadership that promised "a second term in uniform" to Musharraf by conducting polls in the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies.
To counter this move, major opposition parties are securing resignations of its own lawmakers across the country and is planning a no-confidence motion against the government headed by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The likely date is August 2.