US Congressmen deny lobbying for Musharraf

May 28th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by admin  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad , May 28 (ANI): Three US Congressmen on a visit to Pakistan have said their visit should not be seen as an attempt to lobby for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, and that they were not going to get involved in the ongoing debate on the restoration of the deposed judiciary.

They also denied that the US administration or the US Congress was involved in securing Musharrafs interests in the event the deposed judiciary was restored.

No, we are not here to lobby for President Pervez Musharraf or lobby for him to retain his office. I do not think that neither the US administration nor Congress will lobby for Musharraf. This is not the focus of our meetings. We are mindful that Pak-US relations have not always been consistent and we would like to see democracy indefinitely. We hope that this period goes down in history as a time when democracy took roots, The News quoted Adam Schiff, one of the Democrat Congressmen, as saying.

Besides Schiff, the two other US Congressmen are Allyson Schwartz (Democrat-Pennsylvania) and Wayne Gilchrist (Republican-Maryland).

When reminded that in the past the US was more comfortable working with military dictators rather than elected prime ministers, Schiff said that there had been no preferences for the US to work with dictators rather than democrats.

There should be an end to the off and on relationship between the two countries. The US will support the Government of Pakistan and will work with Pervez Musharraf as long as he is president, he added.

When asked to comment on a statement by Aitzaz Ahsan that whenever the judiciary issue looked like it was going to be solved, the Americans appeared on the scene to muddy the waters. We are reluctant to get into this dispute as we cannot afford to back any party. Congress is not a lobby, Schiff replied.

We are for constructive assistance for development of parliament, commented Allyson Schwartz. When questioned how parliament could be strengthened when the sword of 58-2(b) was hanging over it, Schif said, and added We believe in the importance of a strong parliament. Yes, the US president cannot dissolve parliament that is strong enough to siphon the chief executive. In our meetings we expressed the need of an independent government that can ask questions and get answers. We seek transparency for public so that there is access to information. The government members too should ask questions. The 58-2(b) is not compatible with our democracy. The legislature should be strengthened. (ANI)

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