Bush Praises Pakistan Terror Role

Welcomed with military pomp and ceremony, George Bush, the US president, has begun a mission to show solidarity with Pakistan and support the Pakistani leader's "war-on-terror" alliance with the United States.

Bush Praises Pakistan Terror Role
Continuing the heavy security that greeted him on arrival on Friday night, Bush's motorcade was protected by four helicopters that circled overhead as he rode from the heavily fortified US embassy compound, where he spent the night, to see Pakistan's president, Perez Musharraf.

After the welcoming ceremony, the two leaders began their talks. On Friday, Air Force One flew through the night without lights to conceal the plane's profile as it delivered Bush and his wife, Laura, from India. Anti-American sentiment runs deep in Pakistan and protests flared across the country in anticipation of Bush's visit.


The threat of attacks is also present.
A day before Bush's visit, an American diplomat was killed in a suicide car-bombing at a US consulate in the southern city of Karachi. After conferring with Musharraf, Bush will meet business leaders, attend a state dinner and watch a cricket match - a passion of Pakistanis.

Bush's visit has been met with
angry protests by Pakistanis

With the attention to cricket and an event designed to showcase American contributions to Pakistan after a devastating earthquake in October, Bush hoped to boost the US image among Muslims.

Bush said he would talk with Musharraf about Pakistan's "vital cooperation in the war on terror and our efforts to foster economic and political development so we can reduce the appeal of radical Islam".

Faux pas
In a farewell speech in New Delhi, Bush ran into trouble when he praised Pakistan as "a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world."
The White House hastened to correct Bush's reference to Pakistan as an Arab nation, and said he meant to say in the Muslim world.

Bush's trip brought renewed attention on the frustrating manhunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader blamed for the 11 September 2001 attacks. Bin Laden and his followers are believed to be in hiding in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  There were anti-US protests in cities and towns across Pakistan, with crowds burning American flags and chanting "Death to Bush".

About 1000 stone-throwing people tried to march on the US consulate in Karachi; police used tear gas and batons to stop them. 

Important ally

While many in Pakistan view the United States with mistrust, the country has been an important US ally in the Muslim world.

Bush earlier agreed on a landmark
nuclear deal with India

The Pakistani government says it has arrested about 700 al-Qaida suspects in the past four years. Musharraf seized power seven years ago in a bloodless coup and has reneged on a promise to relinquish his military post.

But Musharraf endeared himself to Bush after the 9/11 attacks when he switched Pakistan's allegiance from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and supported Washington in the US-led war against its rulers.

Bush has promised to talk with Musharraf about the need for more democratic reforms.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16