US, West concerned over changing political scene in Pakistan: VoA

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Lahore, Mar 5 : The US and other countries in the West are learnt to be concerned at the turn of events in Pakistan, as they had centered their policy on Pervez Musharraf in the recent polls, and also because the new government's attempt to negotiate with terror organisations Al Qaeda and Taliban might allow the latter to regroup and plot new attacks.

According to a Voice of America (VoA) report, the increasing violence in Pakistan and a possible change in the new Pakistani government's policy on fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda are a cause of concern for the US and other governments in the West.

"Top US officials say the stakes are very high in Pakistan now that South Asia has become a region of vastly increased importance to the United States," the Daily Times quoted the VoA report as saying.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said that co-operation with Islamabad remained "a critical component" of the US strategy against terrorism. "As Afghanistan's neighbour, Pakistan plays a pivotal role in the coalition's war effort there," he added.

Jonah Blank, the chief policy adviser for South Asia for the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, reportedly said that the changes in the Pakistani political scene were causing anxiety among foreign policy planners. "From a US perspective, there is a certain amount of trepidation," he said.

Likewise, Robert Grenier, the former head of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center and the agency's former station chief in Islamabad, told VOA that negotiations with militants "may be tempting but they will not work".

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