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USIS Washington 
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12 October 1999


 

White House Report, Tuesday, October 12, 1999

(Pakistan, CTBT, Jordan's King) (670)

POLITICAL CRISIS UNFOLDING IN PAKISTAN

Asked by reporters to comment on developments in Pakistan, White House
Press Secretary Joe Lockhart responded that "we know from our embassy
and from other sources that clearly there's a political crisis
unfolding," in that country.

"We are trying to ascertain hard and certain information as we speak,"
he told reporters at his afternoon briefing October 12.

"This is, obviously, a fluid situation. There are a number of rumors
and reports" about what is happening there, "and at this point we have
not ascertained the full extent of the situation," Lockhart said. He
cautioned the press not to speculate based on incomplete information.

Lockhart noted that there are around 4,000 Americans in Pakistan. "The
State Department has issued a warning for them to show caution and
care in this moment, and to stay close to home," he said.

News reports say that Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was under
house arrest after he tried to oust his Army Chief of Staff Pervez
Musharraf.

CNN said Pakistan's state-run TV resumed broadcasting October 13 after
being off the air for three hours. Playing patriotic music, the
station announced that Musharraf would address the nation, CNN said.

Later, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that the
United States is "concerned" about developments "and if there is
unconstitutional and undemocratic change of government, that could
only mean that we could not continue with business as usual with
Pakistan."
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