January 8 elections in Pakistan will not be perfect: Boucher

December 7th, 2007 - 1:11 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 7 (ANI): US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs, Richard Boucher, has said that January 8 elections in Pakistan will not be “perfect”, but will represent a major stride forward for moderation and for protecting US security interests.
Appearing before the US Congress, Boucher defended about 10 billion dollars in US largesse lavished on the Pakistan Government since 9/11 attacks.
“We have to start from the premise that Pakistan’s success as a nation … is really essential to our security and future,” he said.
Boucher said Pakistan was in a “historic transition” with Musharraf now serving as a civilian President, emergency to be lifted on December 16 and the parliamentary elections planned for January 8.
“It’s not going to be a perfect election,” said Boucher.
“But I think particularly if we keep working at it and they keep working at it… they can have an election that really does reflect the choices made by the people of Pakistan,” he added.
James Kunder, acting deputy administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, said USAID had given Pakistan 2.1 billion dollars in six years, mainly on education and health but also for good governance.
“We intend to use every tool in our toolkit to ensure those elections are fair, open and transparent,” he said alongside Boucher at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said al-Qaeda had regrouped in the lawless northwest of Pakistan, its leader Osama bin Laden was still at large, and anti-US feeling had surged among ordinary Pakistanis.
“Do we dare call our policies therefore a success?” the subcommittee’s chairman said. “After spending 10 billion dollars, have we really improved our security?” he asked.
Boucher insisted that firm controls were in place to ensure that the war-on-terror reimbursements were justified, and said no US money could have been used for domestic repression against Musharraf opponents, The News reported. (ANI)

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