Emergency to safeguard national interest

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Islamabad, Nov 3 (UNI) President General Pervez Musharraf today declared that the state of emergency was imposed in the country to safeguard national interests and counter growing terrorism and the downward trend of economy.

Addressing the nation on radio and television, he said Pakistan today was standing at cross roads and the time has come to take hard decisions.

''If we don't take those decisions then there is a grave danger to the solidarity and security of the country," he added.

He said the decision of emergency was taken as his guiding principal has always been ''Pakistan first.'' ''My guiding principal has always been Pakistan first. I am sure the whole nation thinks on a similar pattern.'' President Musharraf said terrorism and extremism had reached its pinnacle and the incidents of suicide attacks throughout the country had increased manifold.

''These extremists are roaming around freely in the country while the law enforcing agencies have become demoralised due to cases being taken up suo moto by courts,'' he added.

The extremist elements, President Musharraf said, were forcibly trying to impose the extremist and hardline views of Islam on otherwise moderate people of Pakistan which is a direct challenge to the security of Pakistan.

He said he was forced to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition that he has initiated.

Pakistan is on the verge of destabilisation. If not arrested in time, President Musharraf said will have an adverse impact on the economy and social structure of the country.

''I consider an inaction at this moment is a suicide, and at this moment I cannot allow this country to commit a suicide,'' said President Musharraf.

He claimed that the nation suffers from disappointment and uncertainty.

He said his hopes that judiciary and government institutions will cope with the situation could not come true with situation getting from bad to worst and Pakistan moving on negative lines.

President Musharraf also held media responsible for negativism and held it accountable for fuelling uncertainty. .

''Even the Prime Minister took exception of this grave situation and gave me in writing that it has become diffult to run the government in this situation,'' Mr Musharraf said.

The President said that after discussion with all quarters, he took the decision, which he termed as the third phase of the democratic process.

''We have to remove impediments in way of democracy.This phase will be completed and to restore democracy I have declared emergency and issued provisional constitutional order (PCO).'' There will be no change in government. Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, governors shall continue to hold their respective offices, Assemblies will also continue to fuction.

(..Attn Editor: Picking up suitably from earlier series) UNI

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