A senior US envoy has urged Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to lift emergency rule and free opponents ahead of elections due in January.
"Emergency rule is not compatible with free, fair and credible elections," said John Negroponte, a day after meeting the Pakistani leader.
Gen Musharraf imposed emergency rule two weeks ago following growing opposition and unrest.
He has insisted it can only be lifted once the security situation improves.
Mr Negroponte, the US deputy secretary of state, said he had urged Gen Musharraf to stick to his pledge to step down as head of the army, and encouraged him to release political prisoners.
"Recent political actions against protesters, suppression of the media and the arrests of political and human rights leaders, runs directly counter to reforms that have been undertaken in recent years," he said.
However, the US envoy praised Gen Musharraf as a valued ally in the war on terror and welcomed the Pakistani leader's promise to hold elections on 9 January. ( BBC )