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October 16, 1999
Musharraf keen on dialogue with India
Contrary to popular belief about his views, the Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has appreciated the importance of continuing his country's dialogue with India to resolve their differences and for addressing issues of non-proliferation and security.
He expressed this view during his meeting with the United States Ambassador to Pakistan William Milam in Islamabad yesterday. The latter had raised the issue of resumption of the stalemated India-Pakistan dialogue and the general agreed with him.
State department spokesman James Foley gave information on Milam's meeting with General Musharraf during which the US envoy had pressed for a quick return to democracy and civilian rule in Pakistan.
''We have, obviously, an important non-proliferation agenda with Pakistan, and certainly signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is the front and centre of what we've been discussing with Pakistan and India for over a year now, and we are continuing to urge both countries to sign the CTBT,'' Foley said.
Meanwhile, General Musharraf may appoint a ''supreme advisory council'' composed of senior army commanders and technocrats as a transitional cabinet to run state affairs following the overthrow of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief, news reports said today.
General Musharraf, who proclaimed a state of emergency in the country and assumed the powers of the chief executive yesterday, intends to keep politicians out of the proposed arrangement, reports said.
The army chief, who has been consulting his fellow generals on the options for an alternative government, is due to unveil his course of action in an address to the nation on television and radio networks this evening.
Another report said, ''An across the board process that may surprisingly cover the judiciary and military itself, seems to top the army's agenda for its first few months in power.''
The report added that thousands of officers and junior officers from all three forces -- army, navy and air force -- would be involved in carrying out the accountability drive.
A military spokesman in a statement yesterday following a meeting of the country's top generals in Rawalpindi said deliberations were underway for the formation of an ''efficient and impartial'' interim government which would ensure, ''stability, credibility, transparency and accountability'' in state affairs.
General Musharraf said that top priority would be given to economic revival to ensure national integrity and good governance.
According to Pakistan army sources, the general in a meeting with the US ambassador to Pakistan William Milam said that across-the-board accountability of politicians would be his top priority, ''because he wants to cleanse the political house first.''
The US diplomat conveyed the message of President Bill Clinton to Musharraf, calling for restoration of civilian rule and democracy in Pakistan.
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