WASHINGTON: As the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto plunged Pakistan into a crisis, the US urged politicians there to continue the democratic process while initiating consultations with neighbouring countries including India and Afghanistan. Two senior officials, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher began a round of consultations with the international community besides neighbours India and Afghanistan, reports an Indian news agency.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said “I believe the Indians have been talked (to)…had discussions as well,” besides Afghanistan and some of Pakistan’s other neighbours as part of consultations with a range of people in the international community.”We’re all interested in seeing that in light of this tragic incident, that things still are able to move forward and that Pakistan is able to continues down a democratic path,” Casey said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice herself told reporters at the Embassy of Pakistan, where she had gone to sign the condolence book for Bhutto, said “the way to honour her memory is to continue the democratic process in Pakistan so that the democracy that she so hoped for can emerge.”
State Department spokesman said that Burns and Boucher have been consulting with a number of other countries on this issue. The contacts included the British, Canadians, French, Russians, and other countries “that certainly have all had an interest in promoting peace and stability and the development of the political system in Pakistan.”Asked if the US had urged Sharif to reconsider his boycott of the election, the US official said, “We encourage all moderate forces in Pakistan to work together and to cooperate in what is a common fight against extremism and a common desire to see Pakistan move forward as a moderate modern Islamic country.-SANA