Pakistan has come under renewed American pressure to step up its fight against terrorism, as well as hold planned elections at the end of the year. President Pervez Musharraf stepped back from a rumoured state of emergency, and had a phone conversation with the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Washington warned Musharraf to do more to stamp out Al-Queda and Taliban targets in his country.
President George W Bush said: “I have indicated to him that the American people would expect there to be swift action taken if there is actionable intelligence on high-value targets inside his country. He shares the same concerns about radicals and extremists as I do, and as the American people do. So my focus in terms of the domestic scene there is that he have a free and fair election. And that’s what we have been talking to him about. I am hopeful they will.”
Musharraf’s popularity plunged at home after failing to sack Pakistan’s most senior judge. There have been a spate of attacks including suicide bombings, and he still faces the possibility of a constitutional challenge to him seeking another term as President.