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Home > News > PTI

Return soon to democracy: US, UK to Pakistan

November 04, 2007 17:12 IST

The US and Britain led the global community in voicing deep concern over imposition of emergency in Pakistan, describing it as a "sharp setback" to democracy and seeking the country's swift return to rule of law.

"The United States is deeply disturbed by reports that Pakistani President (Pervez) Musharraf has taken extra-constitutional actions and has imposed a state of emergency," state department spokesman Sean McCormack has said in a statement.

"A state of emergency will be a sharp setback to Pakistani democracy and takes Pakistan off the path toward civilian rule," he said.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "This action is very disappointing." Musharraf needs to stand by "his pledges to have free and fair elections in January and step down as chief of army staff before retaking the presidential oath of office", he said in a statement.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was on a visit outside the US, said: "Whatever happens, we will be urging for a quick return to a constitutional order, we will be urging that the commitment to hold free and fair elections be kept and we would be urging calm among the parties."

In London [Images], British Foreign Secretary David Miliband expressed grave concern over declaration of emergency saying the country's future depended on ensuring the rule of law. "I am gravely concerned by the measures adopted, which will take Pakistan further from these goals," he said in a statement.

"We recognise the threat to peace and security faced by the country but its future rests on harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law to achieve the goals of stability, development and countering terrorism."

China, a close ally of Pakistan, also expressed concern over the situation and hoped Pakistan could maintain stability and development.

"We are concerned about the situation in Pakistan, and believe the Pakistani government and people are capable of solving their problems," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

Bangladesh hoped Pakistan would avoid instability while describing Musharraf's move as an "internal matter" of Pakistan. "As a friendly country Bangladesh is observing he developments in Pakistan very closely. We view those events as their internal matter," Interim Foreign Minister Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said.

"However we hope that (it does) not lead to any kind of instability." Japan [Images] said it "has constantly supported Pakistan's war on terror and its efforts to establish democracy". "Japan strongly hopes that Pakistan will soon restore normalcy and return to the process of democratisation," its foreign ministry said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt termed the development as "serious and very worrying", saying "this is absolutely not the solution to Pakistan's problems".

Voicing concern, France's [Images] Foreign Ministry said Paris "wants dialogue between all Pakistani political forces to guarantee stability and democracy in this great country, which is a partner and a friend".

European Union's executive arm in Brussels also expressed concern over imposition of emergency in Pakistan.

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