Clinton warned Zardari, Sharif to defuse crisis or face aid cut
Washington, Mar 17 (ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif that American lawmakers might balk at sending Pakistan more aid if the crisis over the reinstatement of the deposed Chief Justice persisted.
"She warned them that Congressional appropriations would be at risk," said one US official, who asked not to be named.
In a surprise move, the Pakistan Government announced on Monday it would reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry as Chief Justice, aiming to defuse a crisis and end protests by lawyers and activists that threatened to turn violent.
The News quoted officials as saying that Clinton telephoned both Zardari and Sharif on Saturday.
Clinton coordinated with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband sand exerted strong pressure for a deal.
She told reporters that the decision to reinstate Chaudhry was the first step for a much-needed reconciliation and political compromise in Pakistan.
She, however, avoided a question on whether the compromise was linked to continued US aid.
Asked if the political turmoil was distracting Islamabad from taking on militants, Clinton replied: "They understand what is at stake."
A senior State Department official said "many" in Congress had expressed concern over what was happening in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Robert Wood has praised the reinstatement of sacked Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry, saying there had been no US pressure on the Pakistani Government to do so.
Wood told reporters that the decision by the country's leaders had "brought Pakistan back from the brink." (ANI)