» Monday, November 5, 2007


Asked whether the Prime Minister had had any contact with Commonwealth leaders on the subject since his telephone conversation with General Musharraf on Thursday and did he have any concerns about the situation, the PMS replied that clearly there had been contact with all levels of the Government in Pakistan, as well as with other countries to discuss the matter. As the Foreign Secretary had said on Saturday, the Government was gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan, and the Government had urged President Musharraf to restore constitutional order as soon as possible and to confirm that elections would be held on schedule in January.

Asked if any further steps were being considered, the PMS said that the Government were considering the implications for it’s development and other assistance programmes in Pakistan. These things were kept under review, but the key thing from the Government’s point of view was to have confirmation that elections would be held on schedule in January and the restoration of normal democratic and constitutional processes. Put that the Government expressed concern but did not condemn the emergency, the PMS replied that the Government expressed concern and reiterated the need for commitment to be reaffirmed over elections taking place in January. The Government wanted to see the normal democratic processes being restored.

Asked whether the Prime Minister thought the position of the state of emergency helped or hindered the war on terror, the PMS said the Government wanted to see a prosperous, peaceful, secure and stable Pakistan and this was clearly in the interest not only of the people of Pakistan, but of the region and the world as a whole. The Government thought the best way of achieving that would be to restore the commitment to democratic processes and in particular the elections in January.

Put that there were reports this morning of General Musharraf himself, being under house arrest and was that a concern for the Government, the PMS replied that the Government had seen the reports but had also seen the denial of them by President Musharraf, so the PMS would not identify any particular aspect. It was a more general concern about the fact that the Government needed to see the restoration of normal constitutional practice.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had spoken to Benazir Bhuto or any other political figures, the PMS repeated that the Government was in contact with a wide range of people in Pakistan at all levels, but he did not want to comment on anyone specific. It would be best to check with the Foreign Office on specifics.

Asked if there was a time limit on the Government considering the implications for its development and assistance programmes, the PMS advised people to wait and see how things developed. Asked to put a figure on the development aid to Pakistan, the PMS replied that he did not have that figure to hand, but he was sure DfID would have it.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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