US hails Musharraf's announcement to lift emergency

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Washington, Nov 30 (UNI) The Bush administration has hailed as ''a good step'' Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's decision to lift emergency rule on December 16, saying that he also deserves credit for stepping down as military chief.

''We look to the candidates and the people of Pakistan to fully participate in the free and fair elections that they be able to voice their opinions, that they be able to assemble, and that they be able to have the freedom of the press that they had before the emergency,'' White House spokesperson Dana Peron said yesterday.

The State Department, however, said, ''there are still steps left in order to get Pakistan back firmly on that road to constitutional, democratic rule.'' States Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, ''It is important that President Musharraf get Pakistan back on the road to constitutional rule and democratic governance, a pathway that he really himself had put Pakistan on since 2001. So it is really a call for him to renew the kind of efforts that he had made prior to the imposition of the state of emergency.'' UNI XC SZ RS1039

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