'No pact with militants, Taliban

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Islamabad, May 29: A US Senator, who has completed a four-day visit to Pakistan, has said that Washington is not supportive of Islamabad's moves to reach agreements with tribal militants. "We are against any agreement with militants, Taliban and al Qaeda who have sworn to harm the US," said Senator Russ Feingold, who is also member of the US Senate Judicial Committee.

Terming the restoration of the judiciary as 'the single most important issue' facing Pakistan, Senator Feingold called for their immediate reinstatement. The Daily Times quoted Feingold as saying that the judges were sacked without solid reason, and their restoration should not be linked with other constitutional reforms.

He also rejected the US policy of relying only on President Pervez Musharraf, and added that it was a 'mistake' to hitch policy to a person who had risen to power through undemocratic means.

Refusing to comment on Musharraf's future, Senator Feingold said that this issue was the prerogative of the people of Pakistan. He said there was no harm in engaging with tribal elders, but re-asserted: "I oppose agreements with the Taliban and al Qaeda. We would not talk to people who want to kill American people." He conceded that it was a difficult task to monitor the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan because of the hostile terrain and porous nature of the border.

Underlining the importance of relations between his country and Pakistan, Senator Feingold said Washington wanted a solid and genuine friendship with Islamabad. Feingold said democracy in Pakistan was important not only to the US, but also to the South Asian region, adding that Pakistan's image would improve as a result.

ANI

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