The Bush administration says Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will travel to Pakistan later this week to urge President Pervez Musharraf to end emergency rule and hold free and fair elections.
U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Tuesday, Negroponte will push for a lifting of the state of emergency to clear the way for campaigning. Casey said the U.S. diplomat is also expected to meet with senior government officials. He added that right now there are no plans for Negroponte to meet with detained opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, whom the U.S. has pressed to make a power-sharing deal with General Musharraf. Asked about her detention, Casey said Ms. Bhutto should be able to move freely and go about her business as she sees fit.
U.S. officials have welcomed General Musharraf's pledge to hold parliamentary elections in early January, but have expressed doubts the process can be credible if held under emergency rule.