RAWALPINDI: President Pervez Musharraf Wednesday expressed concern over US presidential hopefuls’ statements about Pakistan’s nuclear assets in a meeting with visiting American Senator Jospeh Lieberman, who called on him at the presidential camp office here. The US Senator discussed with him host of issues including Pakistan-US relations, counter-terrorism cooperation and domestic and regional developments. President Musharraf voiced concern over media reports quoting US presidential hopefuls’ about Pakistan’s nuclear assets. He assured that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are safe and under an effective command and control system.
The President also underscored the importance of a broad-based and long-term strategic relationship between the Pakistan and the United States. He emphasized the need for continued efforts for further expanding of bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest.
President Musharraf thanked Senator Lieberman for his statement of support and solidarity with Pakistan following the tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The President reaffirmed the government’s resolve to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the assassination. Musharraf reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism and extremism. He underlined the importance of a comprehensive strategy combining military efforts with administrative reform and socio-economic development.
Senator Lieberman said that the United States placed great importance on its relations with Pakistan. The two countries were involved in a joint struggle against terrorism and extremism. He lauded Pakistan’s contribution and sacrifices in this endeavour. He also expressed his personal support for the bilateral relationship.
Senator Lieberman appreciated the lifting of the Emergency and holding of elections on February 18. He stated that free, fair and transparent elections would further strengthen democracy’s roots in Pakistan. President Musharraf appraised the delegation that the government was committed to hold free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections. He noted that international observers and an independent media will play an important role in overseeing the electoral process.