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Musharraf says he introduced real democracy in Pak

world Updated: Apr 12, 2007 17:01 IST
KJM Varma
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Claiming that he introduced "real democracy" in Pakistan despite being a General, President Pervez Musharraf has said he needed three more years to complete the development projects he initiated and show results of the policies pursued by him since coming to power.

"I assure you that Pakistan will become a prosperous state within three years because of the development projects initiated by the present regime," Musharraf said addressing a public meeting in Sialkot in Punjab province, where he laid foundation for a Rs 23 billion motorway project.

About the general elections scheduled to be held later this year, he said people should support his allies, who are in present government for continuity of development projects.

With the opposition parties questioning his continuation as both the President and Army Chief, Musharraf, who came to power in a military coup in 1999, said he was concerned that his uniform was the chief subject and target of criticism of his adversaries, but vowed to serve the country whether he was in uniform or not.

"Though I am in uniform, I have introduced real democracy in the country. Those who were in civil dress did nothing for democracy. My government worked for women rights and gave them authority," he said.

In an indirect reference to former Premier Benazir Bhutto, he said while in the past even a female Prime Minister did nothing for the betterment of women.

"I have introduced local government system so that people's problems can be solved at their doorstep," he said without referring to his parleys with Bhutto to work out a political rapprochement for his continuation as President.

Musharraf claimed that the opposition wanted the present assemblies be dissolved.

"The opposition is taking such measures to force me to dissolve the assemblies, but I will not do so and the assemblies will complete their constitutional tenure."

He said the national defence was strong at present and "there was no threat to our national borders, geographically or ideologically."

Musharraf said Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with its neighbours on equal basis.

He said the country's agriculture sector will be improved to eliminate poverty, and Kalabagh dam would be constructed at any cost.

The President said that gas and electricity would be imported from Iran to meet the needs of industrial sector.