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Feb 18 polls "mother of all elections": Musharraf

Describing upcoming polls, Musharraf warns that there would be "zero tolerance" for any protests during and after the exercise.
By Rezaul H Laskar | PTI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON FEB 14, 2008 05:56 PM IST

Describing upcoming parliamentary polls as the "mother of all elections", Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday warned that there would be "zero tolerance" for any protests during and after the exercise.

Musharraf also took a pot-shot at political parties saying they lacked internal democracy and made it clear that he would continue to exercise "checks and balances" in the democratic order that would be formed after the February 18 general election.

"There is a mother of all battles in Iraq, and this will be the mother of all elections from Pakistan's point of view. They (polls) are very, very critical," he said in an address to the National Library here.

He said, "I am extremely conscious of the fact that these (polls) have to be free, fair and transparent and they have to be seen to be free, fair and transparent and also peaceful. The entire world is watching us. National prestige, peace and harmony and our future are at stake."

Asserting that the polls to the national and four provincial assemblies will be conducted in a peaceful manner under security cover provided by the army, Musharraf said: "In this environment of terrorism and extremism, any agitation, anarchy, chaos will not be tolerated."

"Let this serve as a warning to all those who think that they can disturb the peace of the country. They will not be allowed (to do so). Do not test the resolve of the government," he said, adding there would be "zero tolerance" if the peace is disturbed during and after the polls.

The major problem among political parties, he said, is that they were not "throwing up leadership through the democratic process".

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