ISLAMABAD: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is due to arrive in Islamabad today to hold talks with President Pervez Musharraf about the prevailing circumstances in the country. According to diplomatic sources informed that the number two in the US diplomatic hierarchy will raise the issue of imposition of emergency in Pakistan and discuss matters pertaining to holding of fair and free general elections.
According to senior State Department officials, Negroponte will convey to Musharraf how seriously the United States views his imposition of emergency rule and will suggest he rescind it.
General Musharraf has already rejected U.S. calls to lift emergency rule, asking the West not to overlook the ground realities in Pakistan while making such demands.
The United States has viewed General Musharraf as an indispensable ally in the battle against terrorism. Larry Goodson, a professor in security studies at the U.S. Army War College, says that has caused the United States to ignore General Musharraf’s shortcomings. “I think the problem we have in Washington is that we have always settled for the short-term strategic partnership rather than the long-term ‘let’s build a better Pakistan that is able to be a more stable, functioning place in the world,'” he was quoted by US media on Thursday.
Similarly, former deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, But Teresita Schaffer said there are powerful voices in the U.S. government who want to hang on to General Musharraf. But, she adds, there are other quarters opposing General Musharraf’s actions.-SANA