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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Satisfaction for Musharraf at Camp David
By Shahzeb Jillani
BBC correspondent at Camp David

Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf
US officials promoted General Musharraf's visit as a new era in ties
Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf appears a satisfied man following the assurances of support and partnership he has received on his US visit.

US President George W Bush says he will provide, Congress permitting, $3bn in development and security assistance over five years.

In many ways, this is more than many Pakistanis had realistically wished for.

Even so, it was the US side that seemed more eager to describe the visit as representing "a new chapter" in US-Pakistan ties.

"Ten years from now, when we look back at today's Camp David event, we will be able to call it a historic meeting between the two presidents," a senior US official said after the leaders met on Tuesday.

Strings attached

The US financial assistance - five annual instalments of $600m - is flexible and it will be up to Pakistan to determine how much it will spend on debt reduction, development and on military equipment.

Nevertheless, there are some strings attached.

At a briefing at the White House, senior US officials said the assistance would be contingent upon three factors:

  • Pakistan must continue co-operating with the US in its war against terrorism
  • Pakistan must make a commitment that it is not promoting, and will not promote, onward proliferation of its nuclear weapons technology
  • Pakistan will stay on course to building a modern and liberal democracy

One wish General Musharraf will not be granted is to use the American money to buy new F-16 fighter jets.

Mr Bush's decision to block any sale has been welcomed by pro-India lobbyists in Washington.

Sale of the jets would have seriously annoyed Washington's most important strategic partner in South Asia.

Just two weeks ago, while on a visit to Washington DC, India's Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani had sought assurances against a sale - a promise the Bush administration has clearly kept.

Peaceful resolution

India had also hoped that Mr Bush would take up the issue of alleged cross border infiltration into Indian-administered Kashmir by what Delhi says are Pakistan-backed militants.

General Musharraf and George W Bush at Camp David, Maryland
Mr Bush has accepted General Musharraf's assurances on Kashmir

According to a senior US official present at the Camp David talks, the matter was discussed at some length but not in great detail.

US officials said Mr Bush trusted General Musharraf's assurance that he "had been putting 100% effort into stopping cross-border incidents".

Using such a term showed US officials were consciously refraining from employing the word "terrorism" in relation to the killings in Indian-administered Kashmir.

President Bush repeated that he would like to see both India and Pakistan peacefully resolve their outstanding disputes, including Kashmir.

Islamic opposition

General Musharraf is the first South Asian leader to be invited to the prestigious Camp David resort by any American president and clearly seems to be getting along well with the world's most powerful man.

Mr Bush called his guest "a courageous leader" and a "friend of the United States".

But General Musharraf is not getting along nearly as well with Pakistan's opposition parties.

Rejecting the high-profile announcements made at Camp David, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal alliance of six-Islamic parties accused General Musharraf of "compromising the country's sovereignty" and becoming a "stooge to the United States".

The opposition parties fear that with unparalleled backing from the US, General Musharraf will have little incentive to tackle the row over the highly controversial package of constitutional amendments, the Legal Framework Order.

These amendments, introduced last year, gave the president sweeping powers over parliament and the prime minister, a move opposition groups said was illegal.

They say General Musharraf is a self-proclaimed president and military chief who came to power by toppling an elected government.

"The present US administration seems to like President Musharraf a bit too much," said one Washington-based former ambassador to Pakistan.

"In the past, this has led Pakistani leaders to suppress domestic opposition more confidently."


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