Pakistan needs civilian rule, says US envoy

The US has dismissed suggestions that the Pakistani military could form a viable alternative to the civilian government, widely criticized for its handling of the country’s flood crises.

Richard Holbrooke was promoting the aid work of the US in Pakistan

Special envoy Richard Holbrooke praised civilian politicians and said the US would support only an elected civilian government in Pakistan.
The army has been widely praised for its response to the floods.

Pakistan has a history of coups and only returned to civilian rule in 2007.
But some observers have suggested that the floods, combined with a widespread Islamist insurgency, are making it impossible for civilian politicians to govern.

  • Mr Holbrooke, who is in Pakistan visiting flood-affected areas, told reporters: “We will only support a civilian, democratically elected government.
    “I think the Pakistan government has done a fantastic job [handling the floods] so far – and we are here to help in any way we can.”
    However, he added that the US was happy to work with the Pakistani army, “which is a part of this government”.
    The US has been the biggest aid donor to Pakistan since the floods hit, devastating large parts of the country and affecting about 18 million people.
    US officials say the country has donated more than 260m (166m) for flood relief, and has provided 18 military helicopters to evacuate people and deliver food and supplies.
    The US has also provided water-purification kits and deployed medical teams to help prevent the spread of disease.
    In a boost to the aid effort, Mr Holbrooke said the US would begin diverting cash from US-funded infrastructure projects into flood relief.
    And he denied that the US was helping Pakistan in a bid to bolster the fight against Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    “This is a humanitarian effort and we intend to see this wonderful country and its people through these troubled times,” he said.
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