EU urges Musharraf to establish democracy, shed uniform


Brussels : The European Parliament (EP) Thursday accused Pakistan’s military and secret services of exerting “undue influence” in the affairs of the country and urged President Pervez Musharraf to return to democratic government – and shed his uniform.

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An EP resolution urged the Pakistani government “to return to democratic government by holding free, fair and democratic elections by the end of the year” and warned “against the imposition of emergency rule”, INEPNext reported.

Musharraf should respect the constitution by allowing the new provincial assemblies to hold presidential elections and relinquishing his post of army chief, “which he had previously agreed to do in an undertaking to the EU”, the resolution said.

“The military and the secret services continue to exert an undue influence in politics, government and the economy of Pakistan, a situation which runs contrary to the principle of the roadmap for the restoration of democracy,” it added.

The resolution urged the Pakistani armed forces to allow free and fair elections, with the possibility of exiled political leaders returning to the country and standing for office.

It also called for measures to limit the influence of the military and other armed groups on the political and democratic processes.

Pointing to the Lal Masjid episode in which at least 100 people were killed when the Pakistani Army stormed the mosque to clear it of armed fundamentalists Tuesday, the EP resolution said: “Clashes in and around the mosque were a clear demonstration of dangers posed by the radical Islamist movement, against which Musharraf may have failed to react quickly or decisively enough.”

The EP deplored the suspension of Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on as yet unproven charges of misconduct and noted that the continuing popular protests sparked by this action have increased the urgency of addressing the issue of democracy and the rule of law in Pakistan.

It noted with concern the “continuing reports of repression against religious minorities and the use of the blasphemy laws against religious minorities”.