'Moving towards complete democracy'

Other News Materials 31 October 2007 04:07 (UTC +04:00)

(Gulfnews) - Islamabad: President General Pervez Musharraf yesterday said Pakistan was moving towards complete democracy and vowed to accomplish the transition through fair, free and transparent general elections in a few months.

"We will not let anyone create any obstacle to the transition to democracy," he said while inaugurating a 154km six-lane motorway linking northwestern provincial capital of Peshawar with Islamabad.

He told the gathering at the ceremony held at Swabi in North West Frontier province (NWFP) that the polls were only a few months away and warned against attempts to sabotage the process.

"Unfortunately, some people are trying to create obstacles in the way of this final phase of transition," he said, apparently referring to a series of suicide attacks in the country since the Red Mosque bloodshed in Islamabad in July.

Coinciding with the inauguration of the high-speed roadway, a suicide-bomber blew himself up at a checkpost in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad, killing seven people including three policemen.

Musharraf said the ongoing military operation in Swat was the government's attempt to counter growing extremism and terrorism.

"These terrorists do not understand the language of weakness, therefore we have to show strength," he said but also hinted at holding talks through tribal elders to bring peace to the area.

Referring to the blast in Rawalpindi he said it was a terrorist attack and observed that Islam does not allow killing of fellow Muslims. " Pakistan is on the path of progress and prosperity; let it move ahead; do not push it back," the president said.

He deplored a statement by a cleric in Islamabad in support of the extremists in Swat and said, "all those who use the pulpits of the mosques to spread hatred need to be stopped".

The president cautioned that the extremists were spreading their tentacles and were entering the settled areas of NWFP like Swat, Dir, Malakand, D.I. Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat.