Lahore, May 14 : The United States always wanted restoration of democracy in Pakistan and it was a wrong perception among the Pakistanis that prior to the February 18 polls the US had supported "the military government" without caring about democracy.
She said that Washington had always advocated free and fair elections in Pakistan, even while helping President Pervez Musharraf's regime in its counter-terrorism efforts.
Addressing an Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion in Washington, she said that during her very first visit to Pakistan, she had told the country's Foreign minister that the US expected free and fair elections.
The US had not changed this stance even while it was seeking the help of the Musharraf-led government in the war against terror, and it was 'disheartening' that people did not realise that the US had always pushed for Musharraf to remove his uniform and give civilian control of the government, the Daily Times quoted Rice as saying.
"We worked hard to try to bring about a moderate centre, working with Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf and others to try to bring about a moderate centre, so that when the elections were held, you could get the kind of effects that you did get," she added,.
The US secretary said that it was a problem in Pakistan that people thought that the US had supported "the military government" without caring about democracy.
The US had always supported democracy and added that the US was now looking at what kind of assistance Pakistan might require, added Rice.