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NAUKOT (Tharparkar), May 5: President General Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that lawyers must stop using the reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry for political gains and allow the Supreme Judicial Council to deal with the case in a legal and constitutional manner.

Addressing a large public rally here, the president said that some elements, particularly a group of lawyers, were trying to politicise the issue, adding that they were trying to manipulate a ‘purely constitutional and judicial matter’.

Urging lawyers to avoid confrontation, President Musharraf warned people against ‘elements using the CJ’s reference for personal and political gains’, and said they should not follow them.

Claiming that people in ‘millions’ attended the rally, the president said that the level of public participation was outstanding. Their presence in such large numbers, he added, proved that they did not support the lawyers’ campaign.

Referring to the war against terrorism, the president said that terrorists and extremists were trying to block progress and prosperity. He said that the government was taking strict measures to curb terrorism and extremism.

Praising Sindh, he said it was a matter of great satisfaction that there was no terrorist or extremist activity in Sindh.

Urging the people to re-elect legislators who were in the current assemblies, he said that would ensure development projects’ continuity.

Highlighting the diverse composition of the Pakistan Army, he said that people from all over the country were serving in the national institution. He said that there were thousands of soldiers from Sindh and Balochistan in the army.

The president said that the army was engaged in various development projects, especially in remote areas like Thar.

He said that Sukkur Barrage had been repaired within a record time of six months, adding that it had been made operational and safe for another 100 years.

Earlier, President Musharraf performed the ground-breaking ceremony of a cadet college in Naukot. The federally-funded project would be completed in four years at a cost of about Rs349.3 million.

Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim attended the ceremony.

Later, the president also inaugurated projects for lining minor canals and waterways, a cattle colony in Naukot, widening and reconditioning of the Naukot-Wango road and rehablitation of the Naukot-Mithi road. He also inaugurated a water supply scheme for Diplo via Khaplari.

Sindh Chief Secretary Shakeel Durrani briefed the president on the plan for the cadet college and said it would cover an area of 200 acres, adding that its boarding facilities would be run by the Pakistan Air Force. He said the project would provide education and career opportunities to students from Tharparkar, Umerkot and Badin.

He said that the cadet college would initially accommodate 300 students, and later 500 students. –Agencies