By Tahir Hasan Khan
KARACHI: President Pervez Musharraf, while referring to the media rumours that he was fleeing the country, categorically said on Friday that he was not leaving the scene.
“I am not afraid of anybody. I have been in the Army,” he boasted. He added that he had purposefully been silent for the last few months. “I have to play my role along with the political parties to steer the country out of the present crisis. So I am not leaving the country,” he said.
Pervez Musharraf was speaking at a dinner at a local hotel on Friday night hosted by the business community. He said the country was passing through a stormy phase due to terrorism, extremism, and economic and political crises affecting the trade and industry.
The president also called for dealing with the separatist and extremist elements with force. He was concerned that the separatist tendencies in Balochistan were on the rise. He said that the policy of appeasement towards such elements would not work. “They should be dealt with force,” he emphasised while referring to the issue of the banner calling for independent Balochistan.
He said the present uncertainty and instability in the country had caused flight of capital. “Political stability could be achieved through reconciliation and by looking forward rather than being nostalgic,” he added.
The president said he would be glad if the present government completed its tenure and resolved the nation’s major issues. Referring to the situation in Fata and the adjoining areas, Musharraf said that a three-pronged strategy i.e. the use of force, political dialogue and economic reconstruction was the way out.
He said that foreign militants and armed Taliban were hiding in the Fata who were involved in terrorist activities in the country and Afghanistan. He also noted that the people of the NWFP had rejected the extremist elements in the February elections. Blaming the international situation for the wheat and oil crises, he urged the government to take measures for their solution.
The News, 5/7/2008