ISLAMABAD - Former military ruler general (retd) Pervez Musharraf has advised the rulers to concentrate on welfare of 180 millions Pakistanis by providing them better employment opportunities and security.

"Pakistan is passing through a critical stage. We need to get united to make our homeland a prosperous country. Deteriorating law and order, unemployment, poor economy and terrorism are confronting Pakistan. Rulers need to concentrate on welfare of the common man," Musharraf, chairman All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), said on Friday during a telephonic address to a small gathering of his supporters who gathered outside his farmhouse to show solidarity with him. It has been the first public address of Musharraf since his trial started.

The former military chief refrained himself from talking about treason case and his confinement. He, however, made it loud and clear that he was patriotic and came back Pakistan for the betterment of Pakistanis. "Pakistan comes first for me. I feel better among Pakistanis rather than living a luxurious life abroad. I am here to play a constructive role for Pakistan and I will do it insha Allah," Musharraf said.

Interestingly Musharraf snubbed some of his party workers when they shouted anti-government slogans. "Please stop being vulgar; rather, behave like educated citizens. I don't expect anti-government slogans from you all. We need to be straightforward and concentrate to achieve our goal that is to play a constructive role to make Pakistan a prosperous country. Let the government do whatever it wants," Musharraf said.

All Pakistan Muslim League is running a countrywide campaign to show solidarity with Musharraf who is facing a high treason trial. The APML leaders staged a protest demonstration against the government outside Karachi Press Club on Sunday last and demanded removal of Musharraf's name from exit control list.