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President Musharraf has at least 16 supporters

August 12, 2008 17:34 IST

Embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's [Images] 65th birthday went mostly unmarked as only a handful of supporters gathered in this southern port city to wish him and oppose the ruling coalition's impeachment move against him.

'Musharraf impeachment will leave big vacuum'

A total of 16 pro-Musharraf demonstrators, including some women students, wished him 'Happy Birthday' on Monday and opposed his impeachment, waving placards inscribed with slogans like 'No Impeachment'.

'We shall launch a book on the achievements of President Musharraf, likely, before Pakistan's Independence Day on August 14,' Basim, one of the demonstrators, told the Daily Times newspaper.

Pressure mounts on Musharraf to quit

Asked why he supported Musharraf, Basim replied that he felt the President had served Pakistan and benefited the people. Basim, a teenager who studies at the American University of Sharjah, said he had 'authentic information' about the President's achievements.

Alfiyah, 25, who works with an engineering firm, said that the demonstrators were a group of ordinary citizens and had no political affiliation.

'Like-minded friends decided to express our support for President Musharraf, had it been an organised movement, more people would have joined us,' she said.

Musharraf set to become first non-functional prez

Musharraf's achievements for Pakistan are the central idea of the book to be launched by the demonstrators. 'People want to know, which is why we have compiled authentic information,' said Mrs Haq, a 50-something homemaker, who worked on the book with Alfiyah.

Unlike in the past, there were no parties to mark Musharraf's birthday, which coincided with the launch of the ruling Pakistan People's Party-led coalition's move to impeach him. The coalition has accused him of incompetence, violating the coalition and pursuing policies that have brought Pakistan to the brink of economic disaster.

The case of Musharraf and the drunk uncle

But Basim argued that Musharraf had improved economic conditions and brought stability for Pakistan. He said that leading international publications like The Economist and Almanac have attested to his services.

'Musharraf is not an isolated person. We, the ordinary Pakistanis, are with him,' another demonstrator said.

Pro-Musharraf residents of Karachi see him as a liberal ruler and lower-middle class residents of the city believe he initiated mega development projects during his tenure as chief executive and President.

 'Musharraf's legacy will not be negative'

'Frankly speaking, Karachi has been developed during Musharraf's rule. Is it not good for me and you,' said a shopkeeper in a market in Saddar while referring to new roads, underpasses, overhead bridges and flyovers.

However, Karachi remains divided over support for Musharraf with the PPP and the Awami National Party opposing him and the MQM supporting him.

The PPP's Karachi East chapter organised an anti-Musharraf rally on Tuesday, the second such protest rally.

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