Bush asks Musharraf to hold elections

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Islamabad, Nov 8 (UNI) US President George W Bush has asked his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf to ensure holding of early elections in Pakistan.

Mr Bush conveyed this during a phone conversation with the Pakistani leader days after emergency rule was imposed in the country.

''President Bush mentioned US concerns over the return to civilian democratic rule and early elections, as had been originally planned by General Musharraf,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said in a statement today.

He said Mr Bush called President Musharraf late last evening and spoke about the current situation in Pakistan and showed understanding when he was informed of the difficult circumstances that led to the proclamation of emergency in the country.

President Musharraf stated that he was committed to full democracy and civilian rule in the country as he had promised to the people of Pakistan, adding that the objective of temporary emergency was to preserve progress towards transition to full democracy.

He said emergency was also aimed at preventing political instability and reversal of economic growth achieved by eight years of his government as well as maintaining an effective campaign against extremism and terrorism.

President Bush praised President Musharraf's leadership and Pakistan's critical role in fighting terrorism and extremism which posed a grave challenge not only to Pakistan, but also to the world, the spokesman added.

UNI

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