Musharraf dismisses resignation rumours

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Islamabad, May 30 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed reports about differences with the Army and his resignation as part of a malicious campaign to create unrest in the country.

Speaking at a dinner reception hosted in honour of the outgoing Governor Punjab Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Maqbool, here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr last night, the President said, ''The rumour-mongers wish to create differences between me and the Army.'' The President was referring to a news report about his meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday night which gave the impression that they discussed his resignation.

President Musharraf said the speculative reports caused loss of billions as stocks plunged, creating panic among the business circles.

The President said this trend must not continue as it was damaging the country's economy and a threat to foreign investment.

The dinner was attended by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Khurshid Shah, COAS Kayani, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed and the four provincial governors.

The President said he fully supports the Prime Minister in running the affairs of the country smoothly.

''I believe in a policy of conciliation, rather than that of confrontation,'' The News quoted him as saying.

He added the elements who were spreading rumours in the country did not believe in the policy of Pakistan first.

The President said he met the Army chief several times since he assumed the office.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas and President House spokesman Rashid Qureshi took a serious view of the media reports regarding President Musharraf's resignation and to vacate the Army House and termed them totally concocted and fabricated.

Mr Qureshi said some media people were spreading rumours about resignation of the President under a planned conspiracy and the government should take notice of their activities.

In a telephonic interview to the state-run TV channel, the spokesman said it appears that some journalists dream something and float it in the media without bothering to get the contents of their stories confirmed by the concerned quarters.

He said the report about the resignation of the President and vacating the Army House was totally baseless.

Mr Qureshi said there exists good working relations between the President House and the government, adding the President had stated before and after the elections that he would work smoothly with whosoever is voted into power by the people.

He said the President is adhering to his commitment and there is no question of any confrontation between the President House and the government.

Talking to GEO TV, he elaborated that the COAS-President meeting was one of the routine meetings, and President Musharraf had no intention of either resigning his post before completing his five years' tenure, nor vacating his current Army House residence.

He also clarified that the change of command in 111 Brigade, which has been supervising military take overs in the past, had already been decided upon five months back.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the Army chief held a routine meeting with the President on the evening of May 28.

With regard to the news of posting of the 111 Brigade commander, the spokesman said the posting was part of a bulk posting order that included 478 officers (brigadiers/colonels) due for regular posting and the same was issued a month earlier by General Headquarters, Military Secretary Branch.

Brigadier Asim Bajwa, commander 111 brigade, having completed his command tenure is proceeding for a professional course and there is no abrupt change in it.

He also contradicted the news that commandos deputed on security duties with the President are being replaced. Not a single commando has been removed from his present assignment, he said.

Similarly, the relief and rotation of the Army unit detailed for the guard duties with the President is a routine matter which is planned at least six month in advance. He regretted that a section of the press was trying to unnecessarily sensationalise routine functional matters.


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