NEW YORK: - While making a strong case for greater U.S. support to Pakistan in fighting terrorism, a key American lawmaker has also stressed the need for for forging friendship with the Pakistani people. "They [the Bush administration] were friends with one man instead of 60 million people," Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman said after two days in Pakistan as he tours the Middle East. During his trip to Pakistan, Ackerman, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, talked with the people's representatives, tribal leaders and troops as well as Pakistani government officials, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but refused to meet with President Pervez Musharraf, according to a report in The Newsday, a New York paper.                         'TERRIBLE LEADER'  "I deliberately would not meet with Musharraf," Ackerman was quoted as saying. "In my opinion he's been a terrible leader." Opposing the notion of U.S. forces' presence on the Pakistani soil, Ackerman said, it is not the answer to the problem of violent extremism along Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The U.S. forces being on the ground will only make the situation worse, Ackerman said.    The United States must step up equipment supplies and share more intelligence information with the forces that patrol the treacherous, semiautonomous region between the two countries. "What we have to do is empower the military," he added. "They need help from us to do the job themselves".