President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed suggestions that Pakistan’s upcoming parliamentary elections could be rigged. They will be “free, fair and secure” Musharraf promised the EU’s diplomatic chief, Javier Solana.
It’s the first time Musharraf has left his country since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. As well as talking trade with the EU — it is Pakistan’s biggest trading partner — he also met the Nato Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, to discuss the war against the Taliban.
There have been numerous bloody attacks on Pakistan’s security forces in recent months but Musharraf insists he has the Taliban “on the run”.
As anti-Musharraf demonstrators gathered outside the talks, Musharraf was adamant he supports human rights and democracy, but he has accused the West of being obsessed with both.
The EU has made it clear that its continued cooperation with Pakistan will be dependent on the outcome of the February elections.