INTERNATIONAL

Musharraf wants U.S. to exempt Pak. from new security system

ISLAMABAD Jan. 3. The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, today called up the United States President, George W. Bush, seeking deletion of the country from the list of National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).

Gen. Musharraf also called up the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to use his good offices to get Pakistan out of the new scheme, which requires photographing and finger printing of all Pakistanis who enter the U.S.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, earlier this week had lodged a protest with the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Nancy Powell.

The move by the U.S. has triggered critical comments in Pakistani civil society and the press.

There have been a number of commentaries in the media mocking the claims of the Government that Pakistan is a `frontline' state of the U.S.-led coalition in the so-called war against terrorism.

There is a growing fear in the country that the day is not far off when Pakistan itself would become a target of the U.S. once its objectives in Afghanistan are achieved. The latest move by the Bush Administration has come in handy for all those who had questioned the wisdom of backing Washington, when it declared a war against Afghanistan in October last year.

What has added to the woes of the Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali Government is the tales of harassment and humiliation faced by Pakistanis visiting the U.S. at the hands of immigration authorities.

The Muttehda Majlis-e-Aml (MMA), the alliance of six religious parties, today held demonstrations throughout the country against possible military action by the United States against Iraq.

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