Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, October 12, 1999 Published at 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK

World: South Asia

US calls for democracy in Pakistan

India and Pakistan came near to war in Kashmir earlier this year

The United States has responded to events in Pakistan by calling for the Pakistani constitution to be respected.

"If there has been a coup, we would obviously seek the quickest possible restoration of democracy in Pakistan," said US State Department spokesman James Rubin.

Pakistan in crisis
Only three weeks ago, US officials expressed concern about a possible military coup because of political turmoil and opposition demands that Mr Sharif should leave office.

"We hope there will be no return to the days of interrupted democracy in Pakistan," a US official said then. "We would strongly oppose any attempt to change the government through extra-constitutional means."

US State Department spokesman James Rubin: "The spirit and the letter of the constitution should be respected"
The statement brought into the open coup speculation that had been rife since Mr Sharif promised President Bill Clinton on 4 July to withdraw Pakistani-backed militants from Kargil.

Critics described Mr Sharif's turnabout as a humiliation.

President Clinton has been hoping to make a trip to India and Pakistan early next year.

India army alert

India's armed forces have meanwhile been put on alert, Press Trust of India reported.

"All the three wings of the armed forces are on full alert and we are monitoring the situation closely," the news agency said, quoting a senior defence official.

India has expressed "grave concern" about reports from Pakistan of soldiers surrounding the house of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and key public institutions.

"Reports emanating from Pakistan are a matter of grave concern. We are watching the situation. The cabinet committee on security will meet soon after the swearing-in of the new government (on Wednesday) to consider the developments in Pakistan," a spokesman at the Prime Minister's Office said.

The statement said that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, whose Bharatiya Janata Party was re-elected last week, was keeping itself "fully abreast of the evolving situation in Pakistan".

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

In this section

Sharif: I'm innocent

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

From Sport
Saqlain stars in Aussie collapse

Pakistan fears Afghan exodus

Hindu-Buddhist conference in Nepal

Afghan clerics issue bin Laden fatwa

Culture awards at Asian festival

Gandhi pleads for husband's killer

UN condemns Afghan bombing

Gandhi prize for Bangladeshi