WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is sending its No. 2 diplomat to Pakistan to tell President Pervez Musharraf in person to rescind emergency rule and allow free and fair elections.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, now on a four-nation West Africa tour, is expected in Pakistan on Friday to underscore U.S. concerns about the situation as Musharraf resists pressure to return to constitutional rule or to free opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey could not say exactly who Negroponte would see but that his visit was not expected to include stops outside Islamabad, making a meeting with Bhutto unlikely. President Bush reiterated Tuesday that he wants Musharraf to lift the emergency decree, but also that he views the Pakistani leader as a trusted ally.