President’s speech evokes mixed reaction in NWFP
* President had better clad all ministers in uniform: MMA
* General Musharraf made a fool of the MMA: ANP
By Ghafar Ali
PESHAWAR: Local political leaders and businessmen expressed a mixed reaction to President General Pervez Musharraf’s speech telecast on Thursday night.
Mufti Kifayatullah, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) provincial spokesman, said the president looked defeated during his speech. “Gen Musharraf will seek apology from the nation on the uniform issue in another address soon,” he added. He said democracy and a military uniform were opposite to each other and Gen Musharraf’s decision to remain in uniform spelled the death-knell for democracy.
“If Gen Musharraf considers the uniform so important for the country then he should better clad all ministers in uniforms as well,” Mr Kifayatullah said, adding that with his speech the president has played a joke with the nation.
The MMA spokesman condemned the US support for a uniformed president and said it had exposed the US’ shallow claims of upholding democratic norms. He said the MMA would observe the black day against the president.
Haji Muhammad Adeel, Awami National Party (ANP) vice president, said a usurper always made laws of his own choice and then interpreted them suit him. “Gen Musharraf came to power illegally and the Supreme Court’s decision in his favour was the decision of judges who had taken oath under the Legal Framework Order,” he added.
He said the judges had so far not taken oath under the 1973 Constitution. He said Gen Musharraf’s claim that the uniform issue was not part of a government-MMA deal was contrary to reality. “ Gen Musharraf made a fool of the MMA and used it for his purpose,” he added.
Mr Adeel said all institutions including parliament, judiciary and army were under Gen Musharraf’s control and were acting on his instructions. “Gen Musharraf’s statement about the announcement of a big dam is a political tactic to get the sympathies of the people of Punjab,” he added.
Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, member of the executive committee of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), said the president’s speech had reflected the aspirations and wishes of the nations. He added that the businessmen were with the president. “The president’s speech will not only promote peace but will improve the country’s image abroad,” he said.
Mr Sarhadi said at this critical time, the president should keep both offices with him. “The president’s claim that trade with Afghanistan will cross $1 billion and the economy will get a boost will have a positive affect on the stock market and will attract foreign investment also,” he added.