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EU welcomes lifting of state of emergency in Pakistan
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08:26, December 19, 2007

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The Portuguese Presidency of the European Union welcomed Tuesday the lifting of the state of emergency in Pakistan and called for free and fair elections.

A statement posted in EU Council's website said that "the lifting of the State of Emergency and the Provisional Constitutional Order on Dec. 15 as important steps towards the return of constitutional order in Pakistan."

It urges Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to lift all restrictions of the media, imposed since Nov. 3, to release all remaining political detainees and fully to respect the independence of the judiciary.

The European bloc said that it "notes the assertion made by President Musharraf that the elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies on Jan. 8, 2008 will be free, fair and transparent."

It called on the Pakistani authorities to ensure that "all appropriate and timely measures are taken to comply with internationally recognized standards for free, fair and transparent elections."

Pakistani President Musharraf on Saturday issued three presidential orders, lifting the state of emergency, revoking the provisional constitutional order and restoring the constitution. Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency on Nov. 3 owing to the growing attacks on the security forces and interference in government affairs by the highest judiciary.

Source: Xinhua

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