ID :
Wed, 08/20/2008 - 00:42
Auther :

Obama, McCain welcome Musharraf's resignation

Washington, Aug 19 (PTI) White House hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain have welcomed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's resignation saying the decision would help end thepolitical crisis in that country.

"Musharraf has made the right decision to step down as President of Pakistan. It is in the interests of the Pakistani people to end the political crisis that has immobilised the coalition government for too long," Democratic presidentialnominee Barack Obama said.

"I had advocated the US move from a 'Musharraf policy' to a 'Pakistan policy.' The opportunity created by Musharraf's exit must be utilised to focus on issues like terrorism, food and energy shortages and to help people there build a stable,secure and democratic future," the Illinois senator said.

Musharraf's decision to step down brings to an end a bitter confrontation between the presidency and the five-month-old Pakistan Peoples Party (P.P.P.)-led coalition government that has been gunning for him since its victory inFebruary 18 elections.

"US policy must focus on assuring that all elements of Pakistan's government are resolute in shutting down the safe havens for al Qaeda and the Taliban. There can be no safe haven for terrorists who threaten the American people," Obamasaid in a statement.

His Republican rival John McCain too echoed similarviews.

"The resignation of President Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theatre in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation (with the US),"McCain said.

"The situation in Pakistan's frontier regions requires immediate and continued attention, and I hope the elections for President Musharraf's successor will serve to reconcile the Pakistani people behind a leader who can solidify theirgovernment internally.

"It is critical that the US continue to work with the Pakistani people and their democratically elected government to tackle the many challenges we both face," McCain said in astatement.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a potential running mate to Obama applauded thedecision of President Musharraf to step down from office.

"I congratulate Pakistani people on the peaceful resolution of their political crisis, and I applaud the decision of President Musharraf to give up his office for the good of his nation. The two major parties in the governing coalition – the PPP and the PML-N – worked together to bring about a change in government through constitutional andnonviolent means.

This transition represents the first time in Pakistani history in which a president installed by the military has been removed by constitutional political action," Joe Bidensaid in a statement.

"I urge Pakistan's leaders to focus now on pressing challenges of the future and resist the temptation to settle scores of the past. President Musharraf made the right choice in stepping down. I hope his resignation marks the end of the political turmoil that has immobilised the Pakistanigovernment in recent months," he added.