US reluctant to drop Musharraf: Newsweek

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Washington, May 4 : The Bush Administration is not quite ready to abandon President Pervez Musharraf, according to a commentary appearing on the Newsweek magzine's website.

According to by Michael Hirsch, the author of the commentary, Musharraf is not involved too much with the day to day affairs of state, and expectations are that he'll quietly step down around the same time as U.S. President George W Bush leaves office in early 2009.

Hirsch further goes on to say that Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari could be the next President of Pakistan and that Washington is in favour of pursuing a sophisticated counter-insurgency-reconstruction strategy in the country's tribal badlands.

Others in the administration, especially Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Central Investigation Agency (CIA) Director Michael Hayden, agree with the new government in Pakistan, namely that a sophisticated counterinsurgency strategy, including a "vigorous reconstruction programme" in the Tribal Areas, is the way to go.

The report quotes incoming ambassador Husain Haqqani as saying that as long as military strongmen run Islamabad, radical Islamists will always have a safe haven inside Pakistan.

ANI

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