Karachi, Mar 28: Following criticism from several quarters in Pakistan about their unscheduled visit to Pakistan ahead of transition of power on Tuesday, the two US State Department officials have said that US will not interfere in Pakistan"s political arrangements and that Pakistanis only would decide President Pervez Musharraf"s future.
Recent reports published in Pakistani media have suggested that the two officials had come to Islamabad to put pressure on the new government to continue with Musharraf"s policies, especially Pakistan"s role in US-led war on international terror. Speaking to reporters in Islamabad last evening, US Deputy Secretary of State John D Negroponte said that there was no hidden agenda to his visit and that the US did not intend to interfere in the political developments in Pakistan.
“Musharraf is the president of your country. The US will respect whatever Pakistanis decide about their president. The US administration has no desire to interfere in [Pakistani] political arrangements," the Daily Times quoted him as saying. He added: “Mine is not the only delegation. Six other foreign delegations are visiting Pakistan these days. The visit had been planned at least six weeks ago."
He said it was “a usual political transition" to democracy in Pakistan for him and “nothing surprising". Throughout the briefing the US secretary of state dispelled the impression that the US administration was meddling in Pakistan"s affairs. About his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif, he said the US administration was not trying to influence Pakistan leaders to work at the US" behest.
About reports saying that the US had escalated unilateral strikes against Al Qaeda and other militants operating in Pakistan"s Tribal Areas, Negroponte said that the Bush administration wanted to tackle the problem in a mutually agreeable way and through collaboration with Pakistan.