Putting up a brave front in the face of massive violence in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday ruled out imposition of emergency and promised to hold free and fair polls later this year.
"Let me assure you there is no question of that (declaring President's rule), nothing of that sort is happening," he said addressing a mammoth rally in Islamabad to drum up support in the midst of the political crisis sparked by suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry.
The ruling PML-Q mobilised a massive crowd of over a lakh of people for the rally to counter the public receptions being accorded to Chaudhry, who was being supported by the opposition parties.
While PML-Q held the rally in the national capital, its ally MQM organised its meeting in Karachi despite violence.
The idea of holding the rallies apparently was to prevent the repetition of last week's roadshow by Chaudhry from Islamabad to Lahore, where he received massive pubic receptions.
In his address, Musharraf, describing the problems arising of Chaudhry's suspension as "irritants," said his priority was to sustain the "economic boom" the country was experiencing at the moment.
"It is a temporary irritant. There is absolutely no requirement and environment for taking such drastic measures (like imposing emergency). So these under-currents must stop. There is no such need at all," he said.