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Europe must call Musharraf to account

Europe's leaders have the chance to urge President Pervez Musharraf to end human rights violations in Pakistan when he visits Europe this week. The Pakistani President begins a week-long trip to Europe on Monday, where he will meet leaders including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy. This follows Amnesty International's month-long visit to Pakistan last month, where it uncovered a worsening human rights crisis - despite last month's lifting of emergency rule. "Amnesty International has collected a wealth of evidence on human rights violations and the breakdown of rule of law, which are sowing the seeds of a political catastrophe, with devastating consequences for ordinary people," said Amnesty International's Secretary General, Irene Khan. "Arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture and ill-treatment – coupled with pervasive political violence undermine the prospect of free and fair elections planned in February,"

President Musharraf will also meet the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, and attend the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "As President Musharraf embarks on a tour of Europe to garner political and economic support, those who meet him have both the responsibility and opportunity to demand that his government bring to an end the human rights violations that have characterized the recent period of Pakistan's history, including by immediately restoring the independence of the judiciary," said Ms Khan. Amnesty International calls on the Pakistan government to end a host of human rights violations, such arbitrary arrests and detentions and enforced disappearances. It must also fully an impartially investigate political assassinations and other killings, including that of Benazir Bhutto, and restore the independence of the judiciary by returning to service all judges removed during emergency rule. "The international community must give a clear and unequivocal message to President Musharraf that restoring respect for human rights and the rule of law is key to establishing confidence in the forthcoming elections and arresting the spate of political violence in Pakistan," said Ms. Khan.