Pakistan Election Date Announced

(Getty Images/John Moore)

This week the Bush administration may send a senior official to Pakistan in hopes their president will lift their crackdown.

Under fire at home and abroad, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf held his first news conference since the crisis began. He announced elections will take place before January 9th, likely still under emergency rule.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the election date is positive but not enough. And noticeably distanced the U.S. from its strong anti–terror ally. Analysts say U.S. goals in the region depend on it.

In Pakistan local TV journalists protested Musharraf's news conference. His crackdown has taken their stations off the air and the government announced that civilians can now be prosecuted by military courts, seen in Pakistan as a further tightening of the government's grip.

For the moment the administration appears to be building its options, potentially leaning on Musharraf directly this week, and talking to his rivals too. The U.S. hedging its bets, with the stakes high and outcome so uncertain.

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