US senators call for effective handling of Pak situation

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Washington, Nov 11 (UNI) Senior US Democratic senators have called for a ''more effective'' strategy to deal with the ''deeply disturbing'' actions of General Pervez Musharraf, even as President Bush described his Pakistani counterpart as a strong ally against terrorism.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues, in a letter to President Bush said, General Musharraf's decisions to suspend the constitution and declare emergency rule raised ''very troubling questions'' not only about the US administration's policy vis-a-vis Pakistan, but also its overall national security strategy.

They were critical of General Musharraf's failure to deal with Al-Qaeda, despite 10 billion dollars in US aid.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin were among the signatories to the letter.

In sharp contrast, President Bush drew attention to what he called General Musharraf's ''positive steps'', promising to lift the state of emergency, step down as army chief, and hold elections in mid-February.

Mr Bush said he still trusted General Musharraf who sided with the US after the September 2001 attacks on the United States and had proven himself a good ally in the war on terror, bringing several al-Qaida leaders to justice.

He made these remarks yesterday at a joint news conference at his Texas ranch with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Bush hoped General Musharraf would honour his pledges and suspend the state of emergency, making it possible for democracy to flourish.

Earlier, Musharraf's government announced plans to lift the state of emergency within one month and holding of parliamentary elections by February 15. The original plan was to have elections in January.

UNI

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