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Musharraf has a lot more to do in Pakistan: United States

Washington says it will stand by the General and encourage him in his efforts.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 30, 2007 12:51 PM IST

The United States says Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has "accomplished a lot, but there's a lot more left to do" in a country that has been a source of instability for Afghanistan to India.

And in that task, certainly US stood with him and encouraged him in his efforts, state department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Thursday noting, "a stable, prosperous, secure Pakistan is obviously in the interests of the United States and countries in that region."

"It has over the years been a source of instability, if you look going down from Afghanistan to Pakistan and the tensions between Pakistan and India back in 2001. Those tensions were evident when they teetered on the brink of open conflict," he said.

So trying to encourage economic and political reforms in that region and to encourage better relationships among all those different countries in the region are certainly very important to US, McCormack said.

"And President Musharraf's efforts in that regard are critical to not only Pakistan's future, but the future of that region," he said in response to a question about how concerned was US about Musharraf's increasing isolation and the rise of extremism across the country.

Musharraf has instituted a number of reforms in Pakistan in reaction to the threat from violent extremism that is resident in Pakistan and that is a direct threat not only to him, but also to friends and neighbours of Pakistan. "And in those efforts we certainly do support him," he added.

Pakistan is on a different pathway than it was in August of 2001, McCormack said noting that "Musharraf has made quite clear that Pakistan needed to make a decision; they were at a crossroads" after the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US.

He put them on a certain pathway, and that is a pathway of increased democracy, economic-political reform, looking at those areas in Pakistan where perhaps they had been lacking in the past in terms of human rights, freedom of expression and in other areas, he said.

Asked if Musharraf would be able to hang on for another five years, the US official said he was not going to try to predict the outcome of the presidential elections at the end of the year.

But he noted without elaboration that Musharraf has made certain commitments with respect to the presidential elections and "certainly we would hope that he abides by those commitments".

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