White House hopes Pakistan will stick to democracy

The US expressed hope that there will be no Army rule in Pakistan once again.

Washington: Amidst reports of an eminent military coup or dislodging of present government by President Asif Ali Zardari, the United States expressed hope that Pakistan will stick to democracy and there will be no Army rule once again.

"We believe that the government of Pakistan is committed to democracy and to the preservation of civilian leadership, obviously which we believe is tremendously important," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

In response to a question, Gibbs said, "We will continue to work with our ally in ensuring we can do whatever is possible to assist them in their fight against those extremists that, again, not just threaten us, but threaten the existence of their own government in Pakistan".

Noting that Pakistan is located in a dangerous neighbourhood, the spokesman said everybody understands the concerns that the US has and now the concerns that the Pakistanis have in dealing with extremists in lawless areas.

"Pakistan is an important strategic partner and a key ally to the United States," Gibbs said.

“The US is working with the civilian government to enhance its capacity," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

"We support civilian government in Pakistan. We are working with Pakistan to increase the capacity of this government, the performance of this government. It will be important for a civilian government to demonstrate its value to the Pakistani people," Crowley said.

"The Pakistani people have made clear that they prefer civilian government to dictatorship. But as to who ultimately runs that civilian government, that`s a matter for the Pakistani people," Crowley said.

He said that the Obama administration was in talks with the people across the Pakistani Government, including Army Chief General Pervez Kayani, ISI Chief General Pasha, President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Qureshi and others.

"So we have a broad dialogue with Pakistani Government both on the civilian side and the military side. This is an example of the genuine partnership that we have built, and we are continuing to work to strengthen that every single day," he said.

Observing that the US` cooperation with Pakistan was very significant, Crowley said the US has opened up a strategic dialogue on a wide range of issues, but security being a very significant element of their partnership.

"We look forward later this month to another strategic dialogue here in Washington DC. We`ve seen Pakistan`s mindset change over the past few months. I think there`s an understanding that this is a shared struggle," he said.


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