21
Mar
07

US expects Musharraf to quit as promised

The United States has indicated that it expects Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to give up the army chief’s post by yearend as promised, but is not willing to dictate to its ‘solid friend’.

‘He has made certain commitments in this regard and we think it’s important that he follow through on those commitments,’ state department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday in response to a question if it was Washington’s view that Musharraf should leave the army chief’s post by yearend as scheduled.

At the same time, describing Musharraf as a ‘good’ and ‘solid friend’ in fighting terror, he said US was ‘not going to dictate to him or anybody else’ on how he should follow through on his commitment to change Pakistan, he said. McCormack, however, added that the US could ‘offer guidance and counsel and encouragement to continue along the pathway to democracy’.


‘We ourselves, of course, encourage the continued democratic development of Pakistan. They are a close friend and a close ally in the war on terror. We believe that President Musharraf has made a commitment to change Pakistan and we think that is a positive thing,’ McCormack said.

‘We are not going to dictate to him or anybody else and the Pakistani people exactly what those changes are going to be or specific steps that they might need to take,’ he said.

‘Of course we can offer guidance and counsel and encouragement to continue along the pathway to democracy. But President Musharraf is good – has been a solid friend in fighting the war on terror,’ McCormack said.

Analysts have linked the March 9 suspension of Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary to a fear that he would block any attempt by Musharraf to hold onto his role as army chief, which he is obliged to relinquish this year. Asked if he had anything to say about the resignation of one of three deputy attorney generals in Pakistan due to the judicial crisis sparked by Chaudhary’s suspension, McCormack said, ‘…that’s an individual decision of conscience that somebody has to take. Clearly, he has differences with the course of action.’

‘I know that President Musharraf has himself said that this might have been handled differently and that the issue is now before a high council – a senior panel of judges – to be resolved and that President Musharraf would abide by the decisions of the senior judicial council.’

‘And as it should be, we have stated before that it is important that whatever the resolution of this issue may be, that it takes place within the confines of Pakistani law, that it is done in a transparent manner so that all understand what exactly has transpired,’ McCormack said.

He considered it ‘encouraging that President Musharraf has come out and said that, for example, the raid on the television station in Pakistan was unacceptable and that they are looking into exactly what happened. He made it clear that journalists should be able to do their jobs and that’s important.’

Source: Earth Times

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