WASHINGTON, Feb 22: US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher has warned not to make the assumption that President Pervez Musharraf will have no role in a future administrative set-up in Pakistan.

“I wouldn’t make that assumption … I would look at positions the parties are taking. And I would just be patient and wait,” said Mr Boucher when a reporter asked him why the US still talked about working with Mr Musharraf when most of the future government and new members of parliament appear unwilling to work with him.

Mr Boucher, who was in Brussels for biannual consultations with America’s European allies, made these remarks at a media roundtable.

A transcript released by the State Department in Washington on Friday quoted Mr Boucher as saying that as the process for selecting the new government in Pakistan continues, “We look forward to working with whoever emerges as prime minister and look forward to working with President Musharraf in his new role.”

He said that before making any assumption about President Musharraf’s role in the new set-up, “people will have to see how the whole thing settles out.”

Asked can the US envisage working with a government that does not have Mr Musharraf as its head, Mr Boucher said: “We can envisage working with a Pakistani government that is duly constituted, particularly through an election.” Mr Boucher said he would not like to envisage what role Mr Musharraf will have in the government, noting that “the division of powers between the president and prime minister is an issue in Pakistan.”

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