Release political detainees, EU tells Musharraf

February 23rd, 2008 - 5:37 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Brussels, Feb 23 (IANS) The European Union has criticised Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for the continued incarceration of judges and lawyers opposed to him but congratulated the Pakistani people for rejecting extremists in this week’s elections. In its first statement on the Feb 18 polls, the EU said it “deeply regrets that not all political detainees, including judges and lawyers, were released and thus prevented from taking part in the electoral process.”

It renewed calls for their immediate release and reiterated the need for freedom of the media.

Welcoming the elections, the EU said Friday it “congratulates the Pakistani people for their commitment to democratic development and their rejection of extremist forces. The elections provide a basis for a new democratic development in Pakistan.”

The EU now hopes to see “swift moves towards the formation of a stable and functional government, which can start addressing core issues for Pakistan’s future such as strengthening the democratic system, reestablishment of an independent judiciary, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and issues related to regional peace and stability.”

The EU, which deployed a large team of observers during the elections, restated its “commitment to the people of Pakistan in helping them build a prosperous and stable society, based on the principle of democracy and the rule of law”.

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