Musharraf has a role to play in new Pak set-up: Boucher

Washington, Feb. 23: Richard BoucherU. S. Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Affairs, Richard Boucher has said it would be wrong to assume that President Pervez Musharraf will not have a role to play in the new administrative set-up in Pakistan.

“I wouldn’t make that assumption … I would look at positions the parties are taking. And, I would just be patient and wait,” the Dawn quoted Boucher as saying when asked why the U. S. still talked about working with Musharraf when most of the future government and new members of parliament appeared unwilling to work with him.

Boucher, who is currently in Brussels for biannual consultations with America’s European allies, made these remarks at a media roundtable.

A State Department transcript released in Washington on Friday quoted Boucher as saying that as the process for selecting the new government in Pakistan continues, “We look forward to working with whoever emerges as prime minister and look forward to working with President Musharraf in his new role.”

He said that before making any assumption about President Musharraf’s role in the new set-up, “people will have to see how the whole thing settles out.”

Asked can the US envisage working with a government that does not have Musharraf as its head, Boucher said: “We can envisage working with a Pakistani government that is duly constituted, particularly through an election.”

Boucher said he would not like to envisage what role Musharraf will have in the government, noting that “the division of powers between the president and prime minister is an issue in Pakistan.”

Boucher’s comments assume significance in the light of both the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), headed by Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif respectively, calling for the new Parliament to consider impeachment proceedings against Musharraf and restoration of sacked judges, even as Washington has consistently reiterated that it requires Musharraf to remain in office to see the War on Terror campaign conclude successfully.

Both the PPP and the PML (N) are of the view that a dialogue with militants would be a better option than a military operation. (ANI)