US declines comment on Musharraf's successor

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Washington, Oct 4 (UNI) US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has declined to offer any particular opinion on Pakistani President Pervz Musharraf's announcement of his successor as army chief, saying, 'I'm sure that he (Lieutenant-General Ashfaq Kiyani) is somebody that our military would be able to work closely with.

As for the decision of who fills what post, that's going to be up to the Pakistani government and ultimately the Pakistani people to decide within the context of their laws and their constitution and their political system.

Lieutenant-General Kiyani, currently head of the powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, will take over after General Musharraf retire as chief of army staff by November 15, after winning a controversial presidential poll scheduled for Saturday.

However, talking about the about the transition that is ongoing within Pakistani politics, Mr McCormack remarked, ''we have said repeatedly and I'll repeat it again today, what we're looking for is a modern moderate democratic Pakistan.'' ''We're not in the habit of choosing who will lead Pakistan. That is going to be up to the Pakistani people. We're not in the habit of choosing candidates or favoring political parties. That is for the Pakistani people to decide,'' the spokesman said.

He said, ''shat we would like to see, and I think what the rest of the world would like to see, is that the elections that are coming up that will have an effect on a lot of these questions that you're -- the answers to a lot of the questions that you're asking right now -- is that these elections take place in a transparent, free and fair way and at the end of the day that the voice of the Pakistani people will have spoken.'' ''We will work with whomever the Pakistani people choose to lead them. They are, as you said, a good friend in the fight against terror. They have a lot at stake. We have a lot at stake. They have a lot at stake. The future course of Pakistan is at stake in this and future elections. But it's going to be up to the Pakistani people to decide within the context of their laws, their constitution and their political system,'' Mr McCormack said.

UNI

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