Responses to Open Letter to Congress - Senator Norm Coleman

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From Senator Norm Coleman on January 4, 2008:

Dear Mr. Antimidas :

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding events in Pakistan .  As the Ranking member of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Subcommittee, I am extremely concerned about events in Pakistan and am monitoring them closely.

As you know, in the wake of growing protests and a clash with the Pakistani judiciary, President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in October 2007 and lifted it six weeks later.  He resigned his position as head of the army, replaced the Supreme Court, and announced elections for January 8.

Sadly the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has led to increased violence and instability in Pakistan .  The perpetrators of this murder must be brought to justice, and Pakistan must continue a path back to democratic rule. The best way to honor Benazir Bhutto's memory is to continue advancing the democratic process, and the international community will be monitoring Pakistan 's February 18 elections closely. 

I traveled to Pakistan in 2005 as part of a Senate delegation.  During that visit, President Musharraf voiced to us a commitment to stepping out of his military role in order to bolster civilian rule in Pakistan .  It is crucial that this commitment be upheld and that Pakistan return to democracy and the rule of law.

Please know that I consider Pakistan an extremely important country, and it will remain a focus of our work in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the months and years ahead.

Thank you once again for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me again. 

Sincerely,

Norm Coleman

United States Senate