‘Musharraf’s reforms look stronger now’
* Pervaiz says govt prefers dialogue with MMA
* Defection clause won’t be pressed against MPs who voted for Musharraf
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said on Thursday the democratic process and reforms agenda of President General Pervez Musharraf would be strengthened further after the president’s constitutional appointment.
Addressing a press conference at the Punjab Assembly after giving a vote of confidence to President Musharraf, Mr Elahi said Punjab had already expressed its confidence in General Mushararf and his policies by giving the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam legislators a heavy majority in the general elections.
Mr Elahi said by voting overwhelmingly for the president the Punjab Assembly had proved that the elected representatives fully supported the policies of President Musharraf. He praised the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) for giving stability to the democratic system by reaching an agreement with the government.
Mr Elahi also paid tribute to President Musharraf for abiding by his commitment and holding elections on time. He added that the president would also stand by his word to remove his uniform by the end of the year.
Mr Elahi said President Musharraf had always given priority to the nation and democracy and compromised his uniform to endorse the MMA-government agreement in the form of the 17th Amendment Bill.
The Punjab chief minister while commenting on the opposition’s protest at the start of the special session convened for the vote of confidence said that the government preferred holding talks on the constitutional and political crisis with the MMA instead of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), because the MMA was the main opposition in the National Assembly and Senate. He added that minority parliamentarians, be they in parliament or the provincial assemblies, would not achieve their aims and the assemblies would complete their period despite unconstitutional actions from the minority parties.
Mr Elahi, while speaking on the opposition’s walk-out from the session, said the PPP and the PML-N did not want to see a democratic Pakistan. He added that both parties acted on directions coming from Jeddah and Dubai and should now perceive the changing political scenario and review their conduct. When asked if the defection clause would be imposed on two MMA and one PPP provincial legislators who voted, Mr Elahi said the defection clause of the Constitution did not apply on the presidential vote of confidence but only on the vote of confidence for the prime minister and the chief minister. —Staff Report