By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, Associated Press Writer
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan –‘s military ruler faced intense U.S. pressure Saturday to end emergency rule and restore democracy, with Washington’s No. 2 diplomat personally delivering what many here see as a sharp warning from a once staunch ally.
Whether President Gen.was ready to listen was the question. He says the two-week long emergency — which has seen opponents jailed, judges purged and independent TV stations muffled — is needed to hold a peaceful vote in the country beset by an increasingly potent Islamic insurgency.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s trip was seen as a last best chance to persuade him and avoid political turmoil in Pakistan, a key front in the war on terror. The diplomat was expected to make his only public comment at a news conference scheduled for early Sunday, just ahead of his departure.