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Musharraf rules out national government


Karachi : Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has ruled out the possibility of forming a national government or delaying the general election scheduled for next month.

His comments came during a meeting with members of the Sind cabinet, the Dawn reported Tuesday.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the president’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. (retired) Rashid Qureshi, said Musharraf rejected reports about the formation of a national government and a change in the election date.

“There is no truth in such reports and the president is very firm on holding the elections under the caretaker government,” Qureshi maintained.

The president also reiterated his commitment to combating and eradicating terrorism from the country.

Musharraf said he deplored the losses suffered by the government and people in the widespread violence that followed the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The president directed law-enforcement agencies and officials to take all measures to ensure peace before, during and after the elections.

Taking serious notice of the wheat and flour crisis, Musharraf said the country’s wheat production stood at 23 million tonnes and the problem occurred because of smuggling and hoarding.

“There will be an improvement in the next few days,” he said.

He did not agree with the contention that the crisis was caused by the export of a substantial quantity of wheat, saying that only half a million tonnes had been exported at a time when Pakistan had a surplus.