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US Envoy Again Calls on Musharraf to Lift Emergency Rule

  • VOA News

US. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte says he told Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that emergency rule is not compatible with free, fair and credible elections.

Negroponte spoke at a news conference on Sunday at the US Embassy in Islamabad before leaving the Pakistani capital.

Pakistani officials say President Musharraf told Negroponte emergency rule will not be lifted until the security situation improves in Pakistan.

Also today, the New York Times published a report saying the Bush administration has spent almost 100-million dollars over the past six years on a secret program to help Pakistan guard its nuclear weapons.

The report says nuclear experts consider Pakistan's nuclear arsenal among the world's most vulnerable to terrorist groups.

Washington has given Pakistan about 10 billion dollars in aid since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto says Washington's military aid has failed to influence President Musharraf.

In an interview with a US.television news program (CNN's Late Edition) Ms. Bhutto said if President Musharraf has ignored the US call to step down as army chief, why would he listen to a call to hold free elections.

General Musharraf swore in a new interim Cabinet Friday, with Senate Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro leading a caretaker government that will oversee the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Ms. Bhutto, who was released from house arrest Friday, says she does not recognize the interim administration.

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