The United States called President Pervez Musharraf's plan to lift emergency rule on December 16 a "positive and significant step" to steer Pakistan back towards democracy.
"It's a positive and significant step. We look forward to the elections taking place in early January," the US State department Spokesman Sean McCormack said in his briefing.
He also said, this announcement, combined with the fact that President Musharraf has taken off his uniform and is now sworn in as civilian president of Pakistan, are all positive steps that will help get the country back on the path to democratic and constitutional rule.
"It is in the best interests of the Pakistani people and in the best interest of Pakistan and it's future," he added.
The senior administration official said: "ultimately, it will be the Pakistani people who decide who to lead them, who elect members of parliament, and who will determine how Pakistan comes through this political transition."
Asking Pakistani authorities to create a conducive environment to conduct elections, he said, it would be particularly important now, given where Pakistan has been over the past month that Pakistani authorities ensure that those proper conditions are created.
"Forget about the views of the international community and what it thinks about these elections. More importantly, those things are important for the Pakistani people so that they can have faith that those elections are free, fair and transparent," the spokesman said.