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Musharraf swears by parliament
January 02, 2004 23:12 IST
President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan today indicated that he would not use his constitutional power to dissolve the National Assembly and sack the prime minister and vowed to sustain democracy and economic reforms.
"Despite Article 58-2(B) of the Constitution, the present parliament will become the first in the history of the country to complete its full five-year term," General Musharraf said in a televised New Year's address to the nation.
"It would be my responsibility to ensure the continuation of sustained democracy," he said.
The general's remarks came close on the heels of an amendment to Pakistan's 1973 constitution to give him extraordinary powers, including the right to dissolve parliament and sack the prime minister by decree.
They assumed significance in the backdrop of Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali expressing the hope that the military strongman would not use his powers to sack him and dissolve the National Assembly.
Musharraf, who yesterday won a vote of confidence from the legislature amidst a boycott of the exercise by the mainstream political opposition, asked the opposition to "listen to and understand the voice of the two-thirds majority and play a constructive role in Parliament".
He described as "historic" the adoption of the 17th constitution amendment, which gives him the power to dissolve parliament and remove the prime minister, and the vote of confidence, and said, "I am happy this decision by the members was above personal considerations and in the interests of the nation."
Jamali had told the media that the president, who has always kept his promises in the past, has said publicly that he will not use his powers to dismiss the government.
Apparently responding to this, Gen Musharraf, while thanking Jamali's governemnt, allied parties and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal for the 17th amendment bill, assured them that he would come up to their expectations.
The general urged the country to pledge to work with dedication and devotion for the establishment of peace and security, elimination of terrorism, revival of the economy, and welfare of the masses.
He said that when he took over the government in October 1999, he had given a seven-point agenda and the four areas of focus included political restructuring. "This political restructuring included democracy at the lower level or local government system and the system of checks and balances at the federal level," he said.
He expressed the hope that the national security council bill would be introduced and passed by the parliament according to the agreement for a sustainable democracy.
More reports from Pakistan
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