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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

US will not dictate to Pakistan over judges: envoy
4 hours ago
ISLAMABAD (AFP) — A United States envoy said Tuesday Washington will not dictate to the new Pakistani government on the restoration of judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf deposed the country's chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and dozens of other judges under a state of emergency in November when it appeared the Supreme Court was about to overturn his re-election as president.
The new coalition government, which took over in February and pledged to restore the judges, is currently trying to iron out differences on the reinstatement of the judges.
If the chief justice is restored he could take up fresh challenges to Musharraf's position.
The issue has become divisive because it could lead to a direct stand-off with Musharraf, risking further instability in the militancy-hit, nuclear-armed nation.
"It will not be appropriate for the United States to stick its nose into it," US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights David Kramer told a news conference after talks with government officials and lawyers.
Kramer said the US backs independence of the judiciary not only in Pakistan but everywhere in the world and agreed the issue has become "important" here and was a "top priority" for the leadership.
Kramer, who took office last month, said that the United States would continue friendly relations with the new government, which came to power after the defeat of the political allies of the pro-US Musharraf.
Expressing satisfaction over his talks with Pakistani officials he said that the US would like to continue to help Pakistan in all areas, including security and economic development.
"I will leave very confident, not only in the future of this country, but also the democracy in this country," he said.

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