US hopes Pak coalition will continue to function

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Washington May 13: The Bush Administration declined to go into the details of the crisis in the six-week-old ruling coalition in Pakistan but hoped that ''the government will continue to function at this point.'' ''So, we're going to continue working with them. How they arrange themselves politically, the platform of the government, those are going to be decisions for the Pakistani Government to make,'' State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said in reply to a question yesterday.

He said, ''my understanding is that the government will continue -- continue to function at this point. Look, how the Pakistanis arrange themselves politically, what -- who's in the coalition, who's not, what the platform is, questions about judges, these are all things for the Pakistanis to answer.'' ''We neither want to, nor can, answer these questions for the Pakistani political leaders and their political system. They are going to have to address it. We're going to continue to work with the government on issues that are of mutual concern,'' McCormack said.

He said, ''I'll leave it to the parties to describe exactly what the government can do and can't do with the support of Nawaz Sharif's party." He, however, said, ''we are convinced that we are able to work with this government on fighting terror, working with them to help build a different kind of and a better kind of Pakistan with greater freedoms and greater prosperity.'' The crisis has arisen in the ruling coalition following threat by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N to quit its cabinet posts, over the issue of reinstatement of judges, fired last year by President Pervez Musharraf.


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