Moderate forces should work together to curb extremism: Rice

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Washington, Nov 22 (UNI) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has welcomed the release of detained opposition leaders as a 'good step' and said US was hopeful of Pakistan's return to the democratic path.

''We believe that moderate forces should come together in a unified front against extremism,' she stated, while replying to a question in the context of Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's recent visit to Pakistan.

Talking to the Associated Press of Pakistan here, Ms Rice said that radicals made several life attempts on President Pervez Musharraf and also attacked former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on her return to Pakistan last month.

Asked if she saw improvement in Pakistan in the last couple of days in the backdrop of November 3 proclamation of emergency rule, the top US diplomat replied, ''I see a number of opposition figures have been released. That is a good step. But its only one step of what is needed.'' Ms Rice observed that Pakistan had been on a 'road to greater realisation and democratic development, the freeing of the press, the development of civil society, economic reform' and acknowledged ''a lot of that was done by Musharraf himself''.

''And so for him at this point to help put his country back on the road to democratic reform is important,'' she added.


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