The United States on Friday reiterated the value and need for sustainable democratic institutions in Pakistan, one of the major allies in the war on terror amid rising tensions.

At the State Department briefing, spokesman PJ Crowley told journalists, “We support civilian government in Pakistan. We are working with Pakistan to increase the capacity of this government, the performance of this government.”

On the question of a new party being floated by Pakistan’s ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Crowley said, “It will be important for a civilian government to demonstrate its value to the Pakistani people. The Pakistani people have made clear that they prefer civilian government to dictatorship,” adding, “But as to who ultimately runs that civilian government, that’s a matter for the Pakistani people.”

Earlier on Friday, the 67-year-old Musharraf from his self-imposed exile in London, launched the All Pakistan Muslim League with the announcement he would contest elections in 2013.

Asked to comment why the U.S. continues to talk with Pakistani armed forces chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, while preferring a civilian government, Crowley said, “We do talk to General Kayani. We do talk to General Pasha. We do talk to President Zardari. We do talk to Prime Minister Gilani. We do talk to Foreign Minister Qureshi and others.”

“We have a broad dialogue with the Pakistani Government both on the civilian side and the military side,” said Crowley, adding, “And this is an example of the genuine partnership that we are – have built, and we are continuing to work to strengthen that every single day.”

Moreover, at the Pentagon, a day earlier, the U.S. Department of Defense spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told journalists, “We have seen recently and over time those types of things between Pakistani government and Pakistani military.”

“We would of course favor any kind of continued dialogue,” said Lapan, noting, “Anything that needs to happen, should happen according to democratic principles.”

Lapan agreed that, “in a democratic setup, a democratically elected government controls the armed forces and not the other way round,” adding that the “U.S. supports the democratic institution so that if there is any changes that go on within Pakistan, it is our desire that they follow that.”

(AHN: All Headline News)