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I am normal, so is Pak democracy: Musharraf

Musharraf told Pakistani audiences in New York that the condition of democratic institutions back home was also "normal".

india Updated: Sep 26, 2006 16:42 IST

Countering rumours in Pakistan triggered by his unscheduled medical check-up last weekend, President Pervez Musharraf categorically said "I am normal" and the condition of democratic institutions back home was also "normal".

He said that his visit to the hospital was a private affair, but he was "mistaken that it would remain a personal affair," The Nation quoted him as saying in a New York-datelined report on Tuesday.

Pakistani television relayed latest footage showing Musharraf in fine fettle.

While his medico friend Arjumand Hashmi certified him "fit as a horse", Musharraf told Pakistani audiences in New York that the condition of democratic institutions back home was also "normal".

"Thank God we are not a banana republic," he said of the rumours that he had been "deposed" after an "open heart surgery" and that a four star general had taken over as the country's new chief.

The rumours were triggered by a nationwide power breakdown last Sunday, forcing Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his ministers to go into a damage control operation.

Musharraf said he had undergone a routine medical check-up under a scheduled programme during his visit to Paris town in Texas upon the suggestion of Hashmi.

The doctors had declared him fit. "I have not undergone any ETT check-up since 1994. I am normal, absolutely normal," he added.

On democracy, Musharraf said it provided the way forward, adding that he had introduced sustainable democracy in Pakistan.

He spoke at length on his dual role as president and army chief that is being resented by the opposition at home.

Musharraf dispelled the impression that he had violated the constitution. He added that with a two-thirds majority, parliament had allowed him to remain as president with uniform till 2007.

He was thus president and army chief in accordance with the constitution.

He said parliament would complete its term, there was democracy in the country and all institutions were working in accordance with democratic norms.

About his relations with the army that he has headed for the past ten years, Musharraf claimed that there was complete unity in the ranks of the Pakistan Army and it was fully supporting him.

"The army likes me, it follows me, it is with me and I am in the full control of situation," he said in response to queries.

The president came down heavily on mullahs, the Muslim clergy, accusing them of promoting sectarianism and ridiculed them for being 'hypocrites'.

"These maulvis give us the sermons of brotherhood but are themselves hypocrites," Musharraf said.

He said they even quarrelled on how to pray and taught hatred. "We will not allow them to succeed and will curb the abhorrence being spread by them," Musharraf was quoted as saying here.

First Published: Sep 26, 2006 13:04 IST