Pakistan PM bids farewell, hails victory for democracy
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday hailed parliament's historic completion of a full term in office as a victory for democracy as he gave his farewell address to the nation.
The nuclear-armed country of 180 million, where Taleban attacks and record levels of violence against the Shi'ite Muslim minority have raised fears about security for the polls, is due to elect new leaders by mid-May.
Parliament on Thursday became the first in Pakistan's history to complete a full term, its dissolution a milestone in a country where the military has seized power three times in coups and ruled for around half the country's existence.
"It is matter of pleasure for me that an ordinary person like me is today prime minister of Pakistan and giving a hope of continuation of democracy to the nation," Mr Ashraf said in a nationwide televised address.