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'Pak vote no threat to region' PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 February 2008

Agence France-Presse . Tokyo

Bangladesh's foreign adviser, Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, on Tuesday welcomed Pakistan's election, rejecting suggestions the defeat of president Pervez Musharraf's allies spelled instability in the sensitive region.

The foreign adviser said the Pakistani polls also had lessons for Bangladesh, where he said the military-backed government was taking its time to ensure eventual elections are smooth.

'In Pakistan, the people have spoken,' Iftekhar told reporters on a visit to Tokyo.

'The successful exercise of democracy cannot — must not — be seen to be destabilising to the rest of the world.' 'The Pakistani people have the right to choose the government of their own as they have done,' he said.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the parliamentary backer of president Pervez Musharraf, was crushed after a bloody electoral campaign that included the assassination of rival Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf, while a key US ally in the 'war on terror,' has faced resentment for failing to curb a wave of violence blamed on Islamist rebels. Bangladesh's military intervened in January 2007 to cancel elections amid intense feuding between the two major parties, whose leaders have both since faced graft probes.

The interim government has pledged to clean up Bangladesh's corrupt politics before holding elections by the end of 2008.

'One of the reasons why we are taking time to prepare for our elections is because when these do take place there could be a seamless transfer of power without the kind of violence seen elsewhere in the world such as in Kenya and even in Pakistan,' Iftekhar said.

Japan has maintained diplomatic relations with the emergency government. It signed a deal Monday to provide 6.96 billion yen (65 million dollars) in fresh loans to help Bangladesh recover from a major cyclone.

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