President Musharraf in Belgium

22nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Musharraf is meeting with representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The Pakistani President is also seeking support from NATO.

On Monday Mr Musharraf is meeting with representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The Pakistani President is also seeking support from NATO.


Mr Musharraf, whose popularity at home has slumped over recent months, leaves a country racked by militant attacks and on edge over prospects for a parliamentary election on Feb. 18 that is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule.

Speaking to representatives of Belgium's Pakistani community on the eve of the formal part of his Brussels visit, Musharraf vowed on Sunday that the election would be democratic, and said the goal of his trip was "correcting perspectives" in Europe.

"There will be free and transparent elections," he pledged at the meeting in a Brussels hotel, lauding what he said were improvements in the economy and security under his rule.

Fears for nuclear-armed Pakistan's stability were aggravated sharply by the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a bomb and gun attack on Dec. 27.

A surge of attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants based on the Afghan border has raised concern about prospects for the country and its efforts to support NATO and U.S. forces struggling to subdue Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

According to Reuters Press Agency, ahead of the trip, former foreign secretary Tanvir Ahmed Khan said he expected Musharraf to seek to impress on Europeans that he was Pakistan's best hope of stability.

Mr Musharraf met with Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Brussels.

He will go on to Paris to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and then attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland before talks in London with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In Switzerland the Pakistani leader is due to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Anti-Musharraf Demonstration

A demonstration of mainly Pakistani protesters was held in central Brussels on Sunday

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