US denies micromanaging Pak politics

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Washington, Oct 12: State Department spokesman Tom Casey has said he would ''certainly take exception to the idea that the United States is somehow stage-managing, guiding or otherwise telling Pakistanis how to run their own internal affairs.'' ''My limited knowledge of both the President of Pakistan (Pervez Musharraf) as well as with key opposition figures is, that I don't think we'd be particularly successful if we tried to somehow impose a decision on either of them,'' he said yesterday.

Casey made these observations, during his press briefing, when his attention was drawn to reports in the Pakistani media about US State Department trying to micromanage things in Pakistan.

A recent Pakistani report said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Musharraf to talk about the deal that the two had now finalised.

When asked whether Secretary Rice had a conversation with Benazir Bhutto or Musharraf this week, Casey, in reply said, ''I'm not sure when was the last time she spoke with President Musharraf. But certainly, she has in the past and she always conveys to him our understanding of what we'd like to see happen and encourages him to move forward in terms of the democratic developments of the country.''

Casey said, ''the decisions on Pakistan's political future are going to made by Pakistanis.'' He, however, said, ''we certainly have a clear and consistent message in our conversations, whether it's with government officials or opposition officials, and that's that we share the vision for Pakistan's future that's been laid out by President Musharraf and others: Pakistan as a peaceful, democratic, moderate Islamic state and one that works with us to be able to fight extremism and terrorism.''


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