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Australia calls Pervez Musharraf a dictator

world Updated: Nov 07, 2007 08:41 IST

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Wednesday dubbed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as "a dictator" for imposing emergency and asked him to restore democracy.

"He's certainly by certain standards ... A dictator. Our message to President Musharraf is to get back on to the path of democracy," Downer told ABC TV.

Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution and declared a state of emergency on Saturday. The decision has prompted widespread protests led by lawyers and hundreds of them were arrested during demonstrations outside courthouses across the country.

"It seems to me there is no doubt that the real reason he has done what he has done and declared a state of emergency was because he was concerned the Supreme Court was going to rule his recent election unconstitutional," he said.

"He thought the consequences of that would be chaotic," he said adding "We would, of course, much rather he had stuck with constitutional processes.

"I want to see the parliamentary elections go ahead as scheduled in the middle of January next year," he said.

Musharraf has said the state of emergency was declared due to increasing Islamist violence in the strategically vital central Asian nation.

Downer rejected the idea that the decision would result in calmness in Pakistan.

"I don't believe, in the end, Pakistan is going to be more stable if it's not a democracy. I think the best path to stability in Pakistan is the path of democracy," Downer said.

However, the minister said the General-led government did a fair job in fighting terror elements.