US must broaden approach towards Pakistan: Report

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Lahore, Jan 28 : The United States needs to broaden its approach toward Pakistan to include financial aid not just for its army, but also for civil society organisations, political parties, the court system and the police, a Eurasia Insight report has said.

"Such a policy shift by Washington could help to produce a Pakistani government with a greater ability to fight extremists," the report adds.

President Pervez Musharraf lacked the "political legitimacy" required to fight insurgents, said Rand Corporation analyst Christine Fair at a hearing of a subcommittee of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, titled US-Pakistan relations: Assassination, Instability and the Future of US Policy.

"It is increasingly clear that holding fair and transparent elections provides the best chance for stabilising the country," said Lisa Curtis, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

The report said that Pentagon was assessing changes in training and assistance to the Pakistan Army in light of a recent upsurge in violence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

"The FATA ... continues to be of grave concern to us, both in the near term and the long term," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pakistan was a sovereign country and Musharraf had to address the problem directly, the Eurasia Insight quoted Mullen, as saying.

"Is it a threat that the (Pakistanis) are ready to handle? Do they need help? Do they need training help? Do they need other types of help? That's what we're trying to assess right now," said General James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Despite temptations to cut military aid to Pakistan, American analysts warned that doing so would run the risk of making Washington look like a fickle ally," the Daily Times quoted the report, as saying.

Ashley Tellis, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, "They are in a transition where you have a new Army Chief, who by all accounts is a professional military officer, very sympathetic to advancing US counter-terrorism objectives. I would prefer to see the US give him a chance."

"What is clear is that before Pakistan devolves any further into chaos and violence, US policy has to change because the Bush Administration's reliance on Musharraf to bring democracy to Pakistan has not worked," said Representative Gary Ackerman.

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