Bush calls for end to emergency
NEW ALBANY: US President George Bush said on Tuesday that he hoped President General Pervez Musharraf would end the state of emergency and hold elections soon while continuing as an ally in the war on terrorism.
“He understands the stakes of the war, and I do believe he understands the importance of democracy,” Bush told the Fox Business Network in an interview. He described the unrest in Pakistan as “an ever-changing situation,” and noted that he had urged Musharraf to lift the state of emergency, hold elections, and quit as army chief.
“He’s agreed to hold elections in January, and he’s agreed to take his uniform off. And our judgment is that the sooner he can suspend his emergency decree, the faster Pakistan gets back on the road to democracy,” he said. “When I talked to him, I said: ‘You got to get Pakistan back on the road to democracy as quickly as possible.’ And that means elections, and that means that, in my judgment, the road to democracy means you can’t be the head of the military and the president at the same time,” he added. Though Bush and other US aides have been categorical that Musharraf has promised to step down as army chief, the general has set conditions for such a move. afp