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The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad
"The visit of Sir Charles is being welcomed by Pakistani officials"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 10:22 GMT
US and UK pressure Pakistan

General Pervez Musharraf General Musharraf seized power in bloodless coup last October


Delegations from the United States and the UK have arrived in Pakistan to press the country's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, to set a timetable for the restoration of democracy.

Britain's Chief of Defence Staff, General Charles Guthrie, is in Islamabad on a two-day visit and has started a meeting with Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf.

The American delegation is led by the Senate Minority leader, Tom Daschle, who has close links with President Bill Clinton.

He is accompanied by three other Democrat senators - Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Harry Reid of Nevada and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii - at the start of a two-day visit.


Tom Daschle Tom Daschle has close ties with President Clinton
Discussions with Pakistani officials will try to determine when the country will return to democratic rule, said Mark Wentworth of the US embassy.

The United States was muted in its criticism of the military takeover of 12 October, 1999, limiting its criticism to demands for a timetable for a return to democracy.

"The US Senate delegation's visit is important as it would be the first congressional visit after the change of government last October," said a Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement.

The UK Foreign Office says General Guthrie's discussions with Pakistan's military rulers will focus on regional security.

Analysts say his visit is intended to persuade General Musharraf to indicate when Pakistan will return to democracy, as well as to encourage better relations between India and Pakistan.


Sir Charles Guthrie Sir Charles Guthrie knows General Musharraf well
The BBC's world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says the general is well placed to deliver such a message as a military man who knows General Musharraf well.

Sir Charles' visit follows newspaper reports in Britain claiming the UK Government is split over whether to lift a freeze imposed last October on 80 export licences granted to Pakistan.

General Musharraf has so far refused to set a date for a return to democratic rule, saying his agenda is a lengthy and difficult one.

He says his priorities are to try to improve the country's struggling economy and clean up a deeply corrupt political system
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See also:
13 Oct 99 |  UK
Cook warns army after Pakistan coup
11 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Ban on underwriting arms sales
19 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Analysis: Can the army deliver?
13 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Profile: General Pervez Musharraf
11 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Pakistan's coup: The 17-hour victory

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