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Pervez again rejects call to step down as army chief

Islamabad, Aug. 19 (PTI): The 10-month old stalemate between the Opposition and President Musharraf deepened today with the general again refusing to step down as army chief.

“If I give any date for becoming a non-uniformed President, some people would begin a countdown. That would lead to destabilisation,” he said at a meeting of the ruling pro-military Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) here yesterday.

Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and other pro-Musharraf leaders were present at the meeting.

In his address, Musharraf said the legal framework order (LFO), which incorporated his controversial constitutional amendments and legalised his election as President through a referendum, would stay.

He assured ruling party MPs that he has no plans to dissolve parliament and the four provincial assemblies despite the opposition’s demand that he do so.

“The LFO is no more an issue and the issue of uniform should be left to me for a final decision,” he said at the meeting. Musharraf said he would not give up his powers to dissolve parliament and constitute a military dominated by the National Security Council.

The Pakistan President has been rejecting the Opposition demand for over 10 months now even as the country’s mainstream parties and the six-party alliance of Islamic parties Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal successfully blocked parliament ever since general elections were held last October. Since then Jamali and his cabinet have carried on with governance despite a permanent blockade of parliament.

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