Aussie PM calls for restraint in Pakistan

Nov. 5, 2007 at 12:57 AM

SYDNEY, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard has called for an early return to democracy in Pakistan.

Howard told reporters Monday he had telephoned Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to express dismay over the suspension of the constitution and the state of emergency in Pakistan.

Howard said he retained "considerable respect and admiration" for the strong stance Musharraf has taken against terrorism, but he said Australia "could not support in any way, extra-constitutional behavior and the rule of law has to prevail."

Howard said he told Musharraf he "hoped there will be an early return to a more democratic past ... and that there would be restraint exercised in this difficult situation."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the government was concerned Pakistan's preoccupation with the state of emergency could allow supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaida to cross the border into western Afghanistan where Australian troops are based.

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