Poll on schedule, says Musharraf

Posted in Broader Middle East | 06-Dec-07 | Author: Saleem Shahid| Source: dawn.com (Pakistan)

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf addresses the nation on state-run television in Islamabad, 29 November 2007.
QUETTA, Dec 5: President Pervez Musharraf has said he is confident the election process will be completed smoothly and Pakistan will emerge stronger after the polls.

Speaking to members of the Balochistan caretaker cabinet here on Wednesday, he called upon them to ensure that free, fair and transparent elections were held in a peaceful manner. He said that the government was determined to complete the election process in a transparent manner.

The president hoped that the work on development projects in the province would continue and would be completed on schedule.

He said that the federal government was providing maximum resources for the speedy development of Balochistan because it wanted to bring this province at par with the developed areas of the country.

Mr Musharraf assured the cabinet that funds would continue to be provided to Balochistan and asked the ministers to work for the welfare and progress of people.

Caretaker Chief Minister Sardar Mohammad Saleh Bhootani briefed the president on the development projects. He said the provincial government was implementing its annual development programme (ADP) and mega projects.

He said that his government was facing lack of resources as its overdraft had reached Rs14.5 billion.

“The federal government should keep providing Balochistan’s share from the NFC Award so that the development programme does not get affected,” Bhootani said.

He said Balochistan could get an additional amount of Rs2 billion to 3 billion if the issue of gas development surcharge was resolved. He suggested formation of a committee for resolving the dispute with Sindh.

The chief minister also sought an additional grant for implementing the ADP without any hurdle. He said that agricultural loans of up to Rs500,000 should be written off as Balochistan growers were facing difficulties due eight years of drought.Mr Bhootani said that Balochistan should be provided 200 bulldozers.

He said that after the merger of levies with the police force in Balochistan’s A area, the provincial government needed more funds for paying salaries to levies personnel.

He assured the president that all possible steps would be taken for free and fair elections in Balochistan.

Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Chief Secretary K. B. Rind, Additional Chief Secretary Planning and Development Mohyuddin Marri, Finance Secretary Mahfooz Ali Khan and other senior officers of the provincial government attended the meeting.

Earlier, in his farewell address to officers and men at the Command and Staff College and Garrison Darbar in Quetta, President Musharraf said that the defence of the country had been made impregnable over the past nine years and the state of preparedness, equipment and training of the armed forces was of the highest order.