Bush asks Musharraf to shed uniform and end emergencyNovember 14th, 2007 - 8:32 am ICT by admin
Bush brushed aside a question about what he would do if Musharraf refuses or whether he would cut US aid, he said “all we can do is to continue to work with the President” for now and “we’ll deal with it” if he does not.
He said that Musharraf’s emergency powers “undermine democracy”, but hailed the Pakistani leader “a strong fighter” in the global war on terrorism.
“Our hope is that Musharraf will restore democracy as quickly as possible,” The Nation quoted Bush, as saying.
Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters that the US Government was “deeply disturbed” by Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule on Saturday.
American officials say Musharraf’s action dealt a sharp blow to the Bush Administration, which had appealed to him not to declare emergency rule.
“We cannot support emergency rule or the extreme measures taken during the emergency,” Perino said.
“Such actions are not in Pakistan’s best interest and damage the progress Pakistan has made on its path to democracy,” she added.
“The president and his advisers right now are urging him to quickly return to civilian rule, to get back on the path of democracy, to restore the freedoms of the press as well as release detainees,” she said.
“We will review all of our assistance programmes and we are going to be mindful that we should not undermine any of our counter terrorism efforts there either,” Perino said.
Perino stated that President Bush has been given updates by the Director of National Intelligence over the weekend, his national security team and Secretary Condoleezza Rice.
Commenting on review of aid package, she acknowledged that “Pakistan is a strong fighter against terrorists and we have to keep that in mind as we move forward. But our aid package is currently being reviewed. And Secretary Rice has been urging Musharraf, on behalf of Bush, to return quickly to civilian rule.”
The US, Perino said, is going to continue to urge Pakistan to end the state of emergency and get back to civilian rule.
“We want the press freedoms to be restored. We want anyone who has been detained to be released,” she added. (ANI)
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