Ready to face impeachment; says he won’t use 58(2)b as he is not an unbalanced person
ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that he has no immediate plan to resign or go into exile, in a bid to quash rising speculation that he will quit office soon.
“I am not tendering resignation now,” he told a group of journalists in a briefing that was later broadcast by all the news channels.
However, with the government proposing sweeping changes in the constitution to curtail the president’s powers, he indicated that he would not like to be reduced to a ceremonial head of state.
“I will keep watching. I can’t become a useless vegetable,” he said.
Musharraf said he was a “constitutionally” elected president of the country and was performing his duties strictly according to the constitution.
“I’m not interfering in the affairs of the government. I want to say it emphatically.”
Musharraf said he would decide his future by keeping in mind whether he could deliver any good for the country.
He also said he had sound relations with US President George W Bush, but that would have little influence on whether he stayed in office or not.
“My going or staying depends on Pakistan and me and nobody else,” he said. President Musharraf said he would continue to extend all the cooperation to the prime minister in running the affairs of the government and believes in conciliation.
“I am totally committed with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and I would not take any step against him”, he said.
He said that the people of Pakistan are worried on the reports of his resignation. “If I feel that my role has come to a halt, then I will decide my fate”, he said.
He said, “I do not have any house outside Pakistan,” adding he loves Turkey, but don’t have any house there.
Responding a query, the president said, “I am not an imbalanced person that uses 58(2)b.”
To another question President Musharraf said that if anybody wants his impeachment, a procedure for that purpose is laid down in the constitution.
“The constitution has the modus operandi to impeach someone. The Parliament is a supreme institution and all the decisions should be made there.”
He said the country is passing through a very difficult situation. He stressed immediate steps for the elimination of terrorism and economic crisis in the county, saying, the terrorism is the greatest threat facing the country.
He denied the reports that there is any conspiracy being hatched at the President House, adding the President House does not want confrontation with anyone.
The president defended his November 3 decisions regarding the judiciary and said that if the Parliament restored the deposed judges, he would accept it.
“If the Parliament decides anything in this connection, I would accept whatever the decision is.”
He said he had only sent a reference against the chief justice, and he did not depose sixty other judges, but they by themselves did not take oath under the PCO and quit their offices.
Referring to the long march by the lawyers’ community, the president said it would be seen when it happens.
He said the attitude of the ex-servicemen is in violation of the military discipline and the concerned authorities should look into it.
About the statement of Dr A Q Khan, Pervez Musharraf said that it is false that he had given the statement under pressure. He said he will not speak any more on that matter in the national interest.
President Musharraf expressed hope that the system can make improvement, as Pakistan is very good and strong country. He said efforts should be made to improve the economic situation.
Replying a question, he said he allowed Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to come into the country and phoned them at the demise of their father.
The president told the newsmen that he is not interfering in the affairs of the present government, saying the situation demands reconciliation not confrontation.
He said, Pakistan’s economy is under pressure, however, the economy can withstand this pressure.
Musharraf maintained everything was going very smoothly until June 2007, the problem started after that.
He was of the view that the present economic recession in Pakistan has been caused by the surging world oil prices and political uncertainty.
While referring to some media reports President Musharraf said he is thick-skinned and remained target of rumours. He said these rumours had damaged the country more than they damaged him.
He said, “Some one reported that a plane has landed in Islamabad to take me out of Pakistan. But where is the plane?”
“Someone was saying that the forces have surrounded my house. Some one said, “I will leave the country within 48 hours. But now ask those reporters about the credibility of their reports,” he said.
“Stop and confront those who are spreading the rumors,” Musharraf asked the media.
Musharraf while referring to his reconciliation message said, “I am ready to hold talks with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”
When asked whether he would opt for resignation or use 58(2)-B if he feels that present government has failed, Musharraf said he does not want to discuss the other option.
About his address to the Parliament, he said he would address the Parliament after certain assurances.
President Musharraf termed Balochistan situation as uncertain and there is a need to avoid confrontation.