Musharraf makes independence day reconciliation appeal
Political stability was necessary to fight extremism and bring
economic development to the nuclear-armed nation
PAKISTAN: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf called for
reconciliation in an independence day message on Thursday, making an
apparent appeal to opponents who are set to impeach the US-backed
Speaking overnight at a function to mark the 61st anniversary of
Pakistan's creation, Musharraf said political stability was necessary to
fight extremism and bring economic development to the nuclear-armed
"It's my appeal that we should adopt a reconciliatory approach so
that stability should return," a grim-faced Musharraf told the function
at the presidential palace.
It was the former general's first public appearance since the ruling
coalition announced plans one week earlier to impeach him. It is the
only time that a president has faced such a move in Pakistan's history.
"We should all put aside our differences and work to make Pakistan
strong," he said.
"Pakistan is passing through a very critical moment in its history
and our enemies are trying to weaken us externally and internally."
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also called for reconciliation - but
the premier indicated that it did not apply to Musharraf, who grabbed
power in a bloodless military coup in 1999.
"The period of oppression is over forever. Dictatorship has become a
story of the past," Gilani said in a speech after the traditional
hoisting of the national flag in Islamabad on Thursday. "Our democratic
coalition government has adopted a policy of reconciliation. We should
move forward for national progress."
He also called for support to fight militancy, saying: "The war
against extremism and terrorism is a war for our own survival."