Pushing for a pause in the bombing campaign in Afghanistan during Ramadan, Pakistan’s president continues his tour of key states in the anti-terror coalition. He is urging a quick end to the war. Will he be heard?
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, a pivotal U.S. ally, warned the Western allies they risked losing the global public relations war if bomb strikes continued to kill Afghan civilians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this month.
"It is being perceived in the whole world ... as if this were a war against the poor, miserable and innocent people of Afghanistan," Musharraf said on a visit to Paris.
The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, had politely brushed off calls on Thursday from Pakistan's President, saying the campaign must go on until its goals were met.
Musharaff travelled to the US on Friday. He is due to meet US President George Bush on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly's annual debate of world leaders on Saturday. They will of course discuss the ongoing anti-terrorism campaign.
But the prospects of his concerns being heard seem slim. US national security Adviser Condoleeza Rice has already vowed the bombing would continue. She said the United States would ultimately get bin Laden, prime suspect in the hijack attacks that killed some 4,800 people on U.S. soil.