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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 19:05 GMT
US may be 'undermining' Pakistan
By Shahzeb Jillani
BBC News, Washington

Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani
Mr Durrani warned the US not to push too hard
Pakistan's ambassador to the US has warned that American pressure to do more in the war against terror could undermine President Musharraf.

He said the country could be destabilised as a result.

Ambassador Mehmud Ali Durrani told the BBC that recent US congressional threats to cut off military aid to Pakistan could create major problems.

He said it could strengthen anti-American extremist elements in Pakistan and jeopardise warm relations.

Pressure growing

The ambassador's statement is an attempt to paint a doomsday scenario for Pakistan if the US continues to step up pressure on Pakistan's military leadership.

Pakistan army soldier monitors the Afghan-Pakistan border
Pakistan has thousands of troops near the Afghan border

Pakistan is the only Muslim country armed with nuclear weapons and the thought of "a destabilised Pakistan" where staunchly anti-American Islamists could prevail over an apparently moderate leader has long worried many in Washington.

Ever since President Musharraf signed a controversial peace deal with the militants in North Waziristan last September, US pressure has been steadily growing on Pakistan to act more decisively in crushing the Taleban and al-Qaeda threat in its tribal areas.

Pakistan has been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to convince the western world that the country is doing, and has done, all it can to tackle the extremist threat.

'Frustration'

The Pakistani ambassador's statement reflects the frustration Pakistani officials are experiencing on this front.

He told the BBC: "We are telling Americans that Pakistan is your friend. We want to help you. Let's work together instead of exerting undue pressure on us."

Dick Cheney (left) meets Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
Mr Cheney met President Musharraf earlier this week

In January, the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives passed a measure effectively linking all future military sales to the country's performance in the fighting the war on terror.

The proposed legislation is currently under consideration in the US Senate.

The White House publicly says it values the co-operation from President Musharraf and does not support putting new conditions on the country.

But, as hinted during Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Pakistan earlier this week, the Bush administration is reportedly growing impatient with what it regards as inadequate results from Pakistan.


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