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October 13, 1999
Army has moved in as a last resort: army chief
Following is the text of Pakistan army Chief General Pervez Musharraf's speech on state radio and television early today on the army coup that toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief:
You are all aware of the kind of turmoil and uncertainty that our country has gone through in recent times. Not only have all the institutions been played around with, and systematically destroyed, the economy too is in a state of collapse. We are also aware of the self-serving policies being followed, which have rocked the very foundation of the federation of Pakistan.
The armed forces have been facing incessant public clamour to remedy the fast-declining situation from all sides of the political divide. These concerns were always conveyed to the prime minister in all sincerity, keeping the interest of the country foremost. It is apparent that they were never taken in the correct spirit. My singular concern has been the well-being of our country alone. This has been the sole reason that the army willingly offered its services for nation-building tasks, the results of which have already been judged by you.
All my efforts and counsel to the government it seems were to no avail. Instead they now turned their attention on the army itself. Despite all my advice they tried to interfere with the armed forces, the last remaining viable institution in which all of you take so much pride and look up to, at all times, for the stability, unity and integrity of our beloved country. Our concerns again were conveyed in no uncertain terms but the government of Mr Nawaz Sharief chose to ignore all these and tried to politicise the army, destabilise it and tried to create dissension within its ranks.
I was in Sri Lanka on an official visit. On my way back the PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) commercial flight was not allowed to land at Karachi (yesterday) but was ordered to be diverted to anywhere outside Pakistan despite acute shortage of fuel, imperilling the life of all the passengers. Thanks to allah, this evil design was thwarted through speedy army action.
My dear countrymen, having briefly explained the background, I wish to inform you that the armed forces have moved in as a last resort, to prevent any further destabilisation. I have done so with all sincerity, loyalty and selfless devotion to the country with the armed forces firmly behind me. I do not wish to make a lengthy policy statement at this moment. I shall do that very soon. For the moment I only wish to assure you that the situation in the country is perfectly calm, stable and under control.
Dear brothers and sisters, your armed forces have never and shall never let you down, insha-allah (god-willing). We will preserve the integrity and sovereignty of our country to the last drop of our blood. I request you all to remain calm and support your armed forces in the re-establishment of order to pave the way for a prosperous future for Pakistan.
May allah guide us on the path of truth and honour. Al hafiz (god protect you).
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