News

ASSOCIATED PRESS OF PAKISTAN
NEWS SUMMARY
(30-10-1999)

Vital national objectives prevents CE from setting time frame for return to democracy

ISLAMABAD, Oct 30 (APP): The Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf On Oct. 29 said he is targeting certain vital national objectives which do not allow him to give a time table for the return of democracy in the country. "I can't give any time table for a certain reason (and) not for any mollified intent. And the reason was that I have set myself certain objectives and I am targeting those objectives," he told a group of reporters from Commonwealth countries following a meeting with the ministerial delegation of the Commonwealth states. The Chief Executive (CE) listed out stabilization of economy, strengthening of federation and introduction of certain electoral reforms as priority objectives of his government. "We want to bring about certain electoral reforms in a manner that whoever is the representative of the people sitting in the assemblies is capable of discharging his duties in the interest of the nation and for masses."

Responding to a question about his meeting with the Commonwealth mission led by Canadian Foreign Minister Llyod Axworthy, he said, "I think there is a lot of common ground." "May I say that the body language showed that they have probably accepted our view point to a degree." However, he said, "they have their own compulsions of rules of Harare Declaration and so I understand that." But, he said, "I think the team which came here went satisfied with whatever we are doing and they went satisfied with whatever we are doing is in the interest of Pakistan and these are aspirations of the people of Pakistan," he said and added, "I am sure their recommendation will be favourable." He disputed the assertion by a journalist that military had staged a coup against the deposed government. "I don't call it a coup. I call this a counter coup. It was not a coup. There was a coup because that was absolutely wrong action done (by the previous government) and there was a counter coup by the army."

He said the nation was confronted with terrible conditions under the former government. "There was total breakdown of governance, the economy was in a state of paralysis, our honour and dignity was compromised. This was the state we were living in." Therefore, he said, "the only institution that was left, giving some semblance of stability to the nation, was army and armed forces." The Chief Executive said the previous government had even tried to develop cracks into the armed forces, "the only stabilizing factor which would have gone and I don't know where the country would have gone then." He said the people of Pakistan reacted and had welcomed the army action, which restored the stability to the country and had given hope for the future. "It has shown light in the dark tunnel which was invisible before the change." When asked about the possibility of a meeting between Commonwealth ministers and deposed premier, General Musharraf said, "I have not allowed them to meet him but I have allowed them to talk to him on telephone and I have given personal assurance that I am not a vindictive mane." He said the deposed Prime Minister, "is absolutely in good health and being looked after and he is very comfortable. That is my personal guarantee and assurance."

Gen. Musharraf reiterates priorities of his agenda

RAWALPINDI, Oct 30 (APP): Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf told the visiting commonwealth delegation On Oct. 29 that his priorities include revival of economy, elimination of corruption, transparent accountability and reforms leading to devolution of power to strengthen democratic institutions at the grass roots. The Chief Executive also stated that his priorities include rehabilitation of the institutions of the federation, law and order, elimination of corruption, and transparent accountability. Gen. Musharraf stated this during a meeting with the delegation of the commonwealth ministerial group (CMAG) which led by the Foreign Minister of Canada, called on him here at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Headquarters. The Chief Executive said, "the objective was to build institutions and carry out reforms which could promote true democracy in Pakistan consistent with the aspirations of the people."

Gen. Musharraf said, he along with the government, which will be largely civilian, will move the process of reforms in all areas simultaneously. The Chief Executive appreciated the offer of cooperation in the area of institutional reforms made by CCMAG delegation on behalf of the Commonwealth. The delegation stated that the visit had provided them a good opportunity to have better understanding of the situation in Pakistan and the circumstances, which led to the change of the Government.

The four-member delegation, led by the Foreign Minister of Canada, held a 40-minute meeting here at the Joint Services Chiefs Headquarters, which also included the Foreign Ministers of Barbados and Ghana and the special Ministerial Envoy of Malaysia. The CMAG delegation expressed thanks for the courtesies and facilities extended to it during the visit and explained the background of the decision of the CMAG to send the delegation to study the situation in Pakistan. They appreciated Pakistan's interest in the Commonwealth and understood the desire of the Organization to remain positively engaged with Pakistan to help the country at this important juncture.

Welcoming the delegation, the Chief Executive said that Pakistan valued its relations with the members of the Commonwealth and its association with this fraternity of nations. He described his priorities, which he had stated in his address to the nation, in particular the revival of economy, and rehabilitation and strengthening of the institutions of the federation, law and order, elimination of corruption, transparent accountability and reforms leading to devaluation of power to strengthen democratic institutions at the grass roots.

General Pervez Musharraf said, the objective was to build institutions and carry out reforms, which could promote true democracy in Pakistan, consistent with the aspirations of the people. He stated that along with the government, which will be largely, civilian would move the process of reforms in all areas simultaneously. The Chief Executive appreciated the offer of cooperation in the areas of institutional reforms made by the CMAG delegation on behalf of the Commonwealth. The Pakistani Foreign Minister and the Foreign Secretary were also present at the meeting.