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Pervez refuses to shed uniform

Islamabad, May 5 (PTI): Dismissing the Opposition’s demand that he should quit as chief of army, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said he would not give up his uniform till institutional harmony among different power centres in the country was restored.

“I am providing the harmony among the institutions. I will not leave my uniform because if I take such a decision at this juncture it will be detrimental to Pakistan’s interest,” he said in an interview to a Pakistani TV channel.

Admitting that one person should not hold the offices of President and chief of army at the same time, the President said he would quit his “uniform” as soon as institutional harmony had been restored in the country.

He clarified that by institutional harmony he meant understanding between different powers centres in the country, including the legislature, military and judiciary.

Musharraf’s comments came a day before the start of the fourth round of talks between Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali’s government and Opposition parties on the status of the controversial constitutional amendments promulgated by the military ruler ahead of last year’s polls.

After a series of talks, the government and the Opposition constituted an 11-member committee which was expected to have continuous sittings until the two sides reached an agreement. Parliament was expected to be prorogued until the two sides worked out an understanding.

On the legal framework order (LFO) which incorporated his controversial amendments, Musharraf said it did not require approval from parliament.

However, he hinted that controversial articles can be presented in parliament as there were no reason to discuss this issue in parliament.

To reinforce his argument, he referred to the Supreme Court and High Court judgments which, he claimed, validated the amendments in the constitution.

Musharraf said if he takes off his uniform, it could lead to a dangerous situation in the country because of international and regional developments.

He said the National Security Council would avoid threats of martial law in the country.

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