White House Praises Musharraf’s call for February elections

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White House Praises Musharraf’s Call for Mid-February Elections

Thursday, November 08, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Bush White House on Thursday applauded Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s decision to proceed with elections in Pakistan, which has been convulsing from his imposition of emergency rule last week.

“We think it is a good thing that President Musharraf has clarified the election date for the Pakistani people,” press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement given to reporters who were accompanying President George W. Bush on a trip to Texas later Thursday.

The administration issued the statement welcoming the election the day after Bush exhorted the embattled Musharraf in a telephone call to hold elections and to step down as head of the military in the Southwest Asian nation that has been riddled by unrest for the past several days.

“You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time,” Bush said Wednesday, telling reporters about the 20-minute telephone call he had with Musharraf. Said the president: “I had a very frank discussion with him.”

The conversation was the first communication the U.S. president had with Musharraf since the Pakistani declared emergency rule last Saturday and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush political dissent.

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