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Army still behind me: Musharraf

world Updated: Mar 08, 2008 22:35 IST

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President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that Pakistan's powerful army was not "distancing" itself from him following the defeat of his political allies in elections last month.

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999 and stepped down as army chief in November last year, said claims of a rift between him and the military were being spread by people trying to destabilise the nuclear-armed nation.

"It is absolutely wrong that the army is distancing itself from me. There is no truth in it," Musharraf said at the inauguration of a state television station in the central city of Multan.

It was the second time in two days that Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror," touched on his relations with the 600,000-strong military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 60-year existence.

Musharraf faces the prospect of a hostile parliament after the parties of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and former premier Nawaz Sharif won the February 18 elections and formed a coalition.

On Friday Musharraf, who until then had kept a low profile since the elections, said that the army could not forget him.

"It is my army, it is the army of Pakistan. It cannot forget me," state media quoted Musharraf as saying at an official function in the southern city of Jacobabad.