Bush insists on Musharraf to lift emergency rule

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Washington, Nov 29: President George Bush insists on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf' to lift his November 3 emergency rule after he had resigned as military chief.

The withdrawal of emergency rule would pave the way for free and fair elections in the country, Bush told CNN in a an interview yesterday.

Bush, however, welcomed Musharraf"s decision to quit the army chief"s post as a ''good step'' forward. ''It is something that a lot of people doubted would ever happen. And he told me he would take off his uniform, and I appreciate that, that he kept his word.'' But he added that ''in order to get Pakistan back on the road to democracy, he's got to suspend the emergency law before elections.'' Earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on an ABC show that ''the most stabilising thing will be for Pakistan to have free and fair elections. It's time for Pakistan to move in that direction.'' White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino yesterday said,President Bush was now calling on Musharraf to lift emergency rule and ensure that free and fair elections would be held in January.

The US considers Pakistan a key ally in the war against terror, having given more than 10 billion dollar in mostly military aid since 2001.


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