World | Pakistan

Islamabad resents US poll advice

The government has voiced resentment over recurring US calls for a free and fair general election in Pakistan in 2007, saying the country needed no advice from outside about its democratic process.

  • By Shahid Hussain, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 June 30, 2006
  • Gulf News

Islamabad: The government has voiced resentment over recurring US calls for a free and fair general election in Pakistan in 2007, saying the country needed no advice from outside about its democratic process.

The latest statement on the subject came from US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice when she told reporters during a visit here this week Washington had assurances from the Pakistani leadership that the next election would be free and fair.

Rice also recalled Musharraf's commitment to President George Bush during his visit to Islamabad in March. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said in a statement that the election issue was not even discussed when Rice called on the president. She said Pakistan had a strong and functioning democratic institutions. "There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the elections will be free and fair. This is the commitment of the leadership and Government of Pakistan," the spokesperson said.

"We do not require advice from outside," she said, adding that these matters essentially concern the people of Pakistan.

Separately, the minister of state for information Tariq Azeem told reporters that Paksitan did not need any "certificate or dictation" from any country on its democratic system or its elections.

He said Pakistan had never made any statement about American political system. "The government will take all possible measures to ensure fair, free and transparent general election next year," Azeem said.

Responding to a question, he said the government was in touch with former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. He did not indicate the purpose of these contacts, but observed that the two politicians were "vying" with each other to avail the opportunity to reach an understanding with the government.

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