Musharraf makes a public defence of his record

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The Independent Online

Pervez Musharraf has issued a spirited defence of his record as leader, saying Pakistan's problems will only be solved by reconciliation.

In his first public comments since his opponents announced their intention to try to impeach him, Mr Musharraf defended his position after more than eight years in office and said that even now various elements – inside Pakistan and overseas – were trying to undermine the country.

In a televised address on the eve of Independence Day celebrations, Mr Musharraf, dressed in a black and white pin-striped shirt, said: "I believe that we can only achieve political stability by adopting an approach of reconciliation, not confrontation. I ask all political figures to adopt an approach of reconciliation."

He added: "We have to save our economy. We have to stop this capital flight. The dollar was stable for the past eight years, now it has risen high. Those investors, who once used to queue up at our door, have gone away. We must bring them back. We must also combat extremism and terrorism. The only way we can do this is if the nation gets behind the army."

In the aftermath of last week's announcement by the coalition government that it would seek to impeach Mr Musharraf, there has been speculation that the President would resign rather than defend himself. Many believed he was waiting for the right opportunity to stand down. But it appears Mr Musharraf intends to defend himself against the accusations of mismanagement and wrong-doing leveled by the coalition.

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