Rice confident that Musharraf will end emergency, take off uniform

November 16th, 2007 - 2:12 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov.16 (ANI): U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has expressed confidence that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf will lift the emergency that he has imposed in his country, and will remove his uniform sooner than later.
In an interview with the Voice of America (VOA), Rice said that while the situation in Pakistan was far from perfect or ideal, she saw some positives emerging from the current developments in that country.
My reaction is that the positive element here is that elections are going to be held and held very soon, and also that the President [Musharraf] said he was going to take off his uniform. These have both been essential to getting Pakistan back on a democratic path. Obviously, we are also encouraging that the state of emergency has got to be lifted and lifted as soon as possible.
Rice said that the road to democratic development is not smooth and even but Pakistan has made progress. Pakistan is a country that has come a long way from 1999 and the military coup. Its come a long way from 2001, when it pledged to try and root out extremism. But its not a perfect situation, and nobody would suggest it is.
To help Pakistan hold elections, the U.S. has provided funding for voter education, political party development, computerization of voting lists, training of political poll watchers, and election observers, she said.
The U.S.-sponsored independent election-observers are due to arrive in Pakistan this month. The U.S. has been conducting training for Pakistani journalists on election reporting. And Pakistans Election Commission is getting U.S. help to publish the countrys voter list on the Internet.
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson said the U.S. goal is to help Pakistan hold free, fair, and credible elections in which the people can choose their own leaders.
For elections to credible, she said, opposition political party leaders and their party workers must be released from jail or house arrest, and the media must be free to report on events and share their opinions with the public. (ANI)

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