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World leaders urged to tackle Musharraf at World Economic Forum

Irene Khan has written to world political and business leaders, calling on them to raise the issue of Pakistan's human rights situation with President Musharraf at the World Economic Forum (WEF). In the letter, Amnesty International's Secretary General urges them to make human rights and rule of law in Pakistan a central theme in their discussions with the President. President Musharraf is due to travel Davos, Switzerland, today for the WEF Annual Meeting and is expected to stay until the meeting ends on Sunday. He is expected to meet with many of the 2,500 political, economic and media leaders from 88 countries at the annual five-day meeting. The letter urges the members of the international community present at Davos to use their utmost influence on the Pakistan government to immediately agree to uphold human rights and maintain rule of law in Pakistan. In particular, Ms Khan calls for the return to service of judges removed during emergency rule and the guarantee of an independent judiciary, as enshrined in its constitution and international law. In addition, Ms. Khan urges them to appeal to President Musharraf that his government puts an end to the range of human rights abuses documented by Amnesty International, which include arbitary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearance and ill-treatment of those in custody, as well as all persecution of government critics and opposition. These measures can help build confidence and hope among the people to establish stability and prosperity in the country." Amnesty International has conducted research in Pakistan over the past month to assess the human rights situation in the country, following the lifting of the state of emergency on 15 December 2007. "We 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," Ms. Khan writes.   Irene Khan will also attend the WEF where she will seek to raise a range of human rights issues with the participants, including, but not limited to, the situation in Pakistan.