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Musharraf: Pakistan Parliamentary Elections Must Be Free, Fair


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says next month's parliamentary elections must be "free, fair and transparent" in order to achieve stability in his country.

Speaking at the World Economic Forun in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Mr. Musharraf vowed to firmly crack down on any attempt to disrupt the February 18 vote.

Appearing alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the annual gathering, the Pakistani leader also promised to fight the "scourge" of terrorism in the region.

Wednesday, Mr. Musharraf held talks in Davos with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who pressed him for free and fair elections. She also urged President Musharraf to step up cooperation in the international struggle against terrorism.

Davos was the latest stop on Mr. Musharraf's Europe tour aimed at rallying support for his leadership.

His trip includes stops in Belgium, France and Britain.

In Brussels Monday, President Musharraf told reporters his country needs more time to develop democratic practices.

On Tuesday, Mr. Musharraf told an audience in Paris there is no danger of his nuclear-armed country falling into the hands of militants either by force or through elections.

Mr. Musharraf's tour follows a year of domestic political turmoil capped by the December assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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