Washington, Feb 24: The United States would continue to pursue its wide-ranging ties with Pakistan and credited President Pervez Musharraf with guiding his nation to free and fair elections, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a news conference in South Korea.
Musharraf is President of the country and so, of course, US would to deal with him and pursue its interests for a stable and democratic Pakistan, the Dawn quoted Rice, as saying. "The elections I think instill some confidence in Pakistani people. It was an outcome that moves them closer or further down road back to not just civilian government but to democratic civilian government that is more broadly based. That is, to my mind, best possible outcome, which is that Pakistani people now have a chance for civilian government that is broadly based," she added.
How they arrange their coalition is really a Pakistani affair, Rice said, adding that Washington's relationship with Islamabad was not just about counter terrorism but also on education, women's empowerment and all of the elements of support for Pakistani social and economic progress.
On anti-terror cooperation, she said: "It is also in our interest to have a sustained and very robust counter-terrorism effort. It is in interest of both nations to continue to pursue the agenda. Not only is that important to American security and frankly, I think American people expect US President to continue to pursue an agenda with Pakistan that protects our interests in a robust counter terrorism effort that is also in interest of Pakistani people, who watched one of their great political leaders assassinated by extremists."
Rice noted Pakistani people have clearly expressed in election that they wanted a better life, more jobs, want extremism and violence to end. American and Pakistani people share common goal.
"So I think we and Pakistani people have common agenda here. They have made their voices known. The US is very proud for they have made their voices known in this way, and we're going to pursue relations with Pakistan with our interests in mind the way that we would with any other country that we believe is making progress toward a more democratic future," the paper quoted her, as saying.