QUETTA, Nov 18: President Pervez Musharraf reiterated his stance on Sunday that the country was more important than the Constitution and democracy and that he was doing the important job of saving the country.

He said the Constitution and democracy were for the country, and not the vice versa.

Addressing the outgoing legislators of the Balochistan Assembly, tribal elders and senators after inaugurating the Surab-Basima-Hoshab highway, he said that all political parties should participate in the coming elections which would usher in a new era of democracy.

Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, outgoing Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yousuf, provincial ministers and chief secretary K.B Rind were present.

The president said he had promised to the nation that assemblies would complete their five-year term and he had fulfilled the promise.

He said it was for the first time in the country’s political history that an elected prime minister had left the office and the power transfer was competed in a peaceful manner.

He thanked the outgoing legislators for electing him president for the next five-year term and expressed the hope that they would be elected again and would continue the policies of the present government. “I hope I will see you again when I come to Balochistan after elections,” he added.

Gen Musharraf said that in 1999, Pakistan was on the brink of economic disaster, but his government brought the country out of the crisis by taking correct decisions. He said the country had been in grip of terrorism and extremism for some time and his government had taken strict measures to crush them. However, he admitted that the measures had some adverse effects but these were necessary for the betterment of the country.

Gen Musharraf said his government had launched a number of development projects in Balochistan and spent billions of rupees to remove the sense of deprivation among the people of the province which was neglected by the past governments.

He said he would remain with the people of Balochistan and would not leave them alone in their hour of need.

“Terrorist elements in Balochistan have been eliminated and the remaining few would also be eliminated with people’s cooperation,” he added.