US not to suspend military aid to Pakistan

By Xinhua

Washington : The US has no plans to suspend military aid to its key ally Pakistan following the declaration of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf, said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

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“At this point, the declaration does not impact on our military support for Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terror,” Morrell said late Saturday.

“Pakistan is a very important ally in the war on terror. And he (Defence Secretary Robert Gates) is closely following developments there,” Morrell said.

The White House has said that it was disappointed by Musharraf’s declaration of emergency and urged him to stick to the pledge to hold free elections in the country early next year.

Earlier US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was in Istanbul to attend an international conference, said Musharraf’s decision to declare emergency was “very regrettable”.

She termed the move “a step backwards for democracy”.

State department spokesman Sean McCormack also said in a statement that “the US is deeply disturbed by the reports that Pakistan President Musharraf has taken extra-constitutional actions and has imposed a state of emergency”.

Musharraf promulgated a provisional constitutional order (PCO) after he declared a state of emergency in the country Saturday. He also replaced the nation’s chief justice, claiming the judiciary was interfering with the government.