Negroponte arrives in Pakistan; likely to demand withdrawal of emergency

November 16th, 2007 - 9:59 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad/Washington, Nov 16 (ANI): The US Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, arrived in Islamabad this evening to put forward the Bush administrations view on the imposition of emergency by President General Pervez Musharraf.

During his meeting with the Pakistani leadership, Negroponte is expected to ask the Musharraf regime to withdraw the emergency completely.

“The message is that … it’s critically important that Pakistan get back on the road to Constitutional and democratic rule,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington when asked what message Negroponte would take with him to Islamabad.

“And, a critical element of that taking place is for the state of emergency to be lifted, to allow those who want to peacefully participate in Pakistan’s political process to move freely, to have access to independent media,” McCormack said.

He, however, noted that some independent television stations have come back on air in Pakistan, the Dawn reported.

“That’s positive. But that needs to be something that happens all throughout this period in the run-up to elections, whenever they may be scheduled. It’s important to see that date,” McCormack added.

The statement of McCormack comes in the wake of senior Bush Administration officials saying that Negroponte is likely to deliver a blunt message from US President George Bush to President General Pervez Musharraf to lift emergency in Pakistan.

Other officials, however, feel that Negroponte is being specially dispatched to do a “face-to-face plain talking” with Musharraf.

One official said that the US is uneasy over the “rupture of understanding for future power-sharing” between Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and this would be a major topic of discussion between Negroponte and Musharraf.

The Americans want Musharraf to give Bhutto a “level-playing field” to enable her to win polls.

“Musharraf would assure Negroponte once again that he would have no hesitation in working with Bhutto if she is successful in the elections,” The News quoted the official, as saying.
However, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman M Sadiq said: “We are not aware of Negroponte’s agenda of talks. We have been rejecting unreasonable comments and remarks made by foreign countries on Pakistan’s internal affairs.” (ANI)

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