DATE=3/10/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=US-PAKISTAN (L) NUMBER=2-260073 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Clinton administration is strongly condemning the shooting death of the lawyer defending Pakistan's deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The incident on Friday comes two weeks before President Clinton is due to make a brief stop in Pakistan at the end of a week-long trip to South Asia. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: White House spokesman Joe Lockhart was quick to condemn the killing of Iqbal Raad and two others by unidentified gunmen in Karachi Friday, calling it "cowardly" and "a horrific act of violence." But Mr. Lockhart said the incident would not affect Mr. Clinton's plans to visit Pakistan after his stops in India and Bangladesh. In fact, he argued, it makes it all the more important for the president to personally make the case for the return to democratic rule in that country, where five months ago the popularly elected Mr. Sharif was ousted in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf. /// Lockhart Act /// If anything, it underscores the need to press for openness, democracy, constitutional rule -- and those are points we were already planning to make, and we will make, while we are there. /// End Act /// Mr. Clinton made similar comments on Thursday. He said his decision to go to Pakistan was not an endorsement of the country's military government, but rather an acknowledgement that keeping open lines of contact with Pakistan offers the best prospect of positive change there. Regarding the President's own safety during the visit, Mr. Lockhart declined to discuss security planning, but gave assurances that Mr. Clinton would be protected. It is not clear whether the killing of lawyer Iqbal Raad was linked to Mr. Sharif's trial. The deposed Prime Minister faces charges of attempted murder and hijacking stemming from his alleged attempt last October to prevent General Musharraf's plane from landing in Karachi hours before the coup. Mr. Lockhart renewed the U-S call for a free, open and transparent trial for Mr. Sharif so that - in his words - "the rest of the world can see that justice is being done." NEB/DAT/JP 10-Mar-2000 14:45 PM EDT (10-Mar-2000 1945 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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