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Britain 'gravely concerned'; hopes free polls in Pak soon

Britain asks Musharraf to abide by the commtiment he gave to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hold free and fair elections on schedule.

world Updated: Nov 05, 2007 19:48 IST

Britain said it was "gravely concerned" at the imposition of emergency in Pakistan and asked President Pervez Musharraf to abide by the commtiment he gave to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hold free and fair elections on schedule.

Brown and Musharraf spoke to each other on Nov 1 during which Musharraf made a commitment to hold "free and fair" elections. Foreign Secretary David Miliband recalled the committment on Saturday and hoped that it will be fulfilled.

Miliband said: "We recognise the threat to peace and security faced by the country, but its future rests on harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law to achieve the goals of stability, development and countering terrorism."

"I am gravely concerned by the measures adopted today, which will take Pakistan further from these goals. It is vital that the Government acts in accordance with the Constitution...All friends of Pakistan will be concerned by the turn of events today".

Miliband said that Britain will continue to engage with the Musharraf regime, and the first post-emergency contacts would be between the British high commissioner in Islamabad and the Pakistan foreign ministry.

Miliband will also be interacting with Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Ahmed Kasuri.

He said: "We are working closely with friends of Pakistan across the international community to encourage all parties to show restraint and to work together for a peaceful and democratic resolution."

"We hope that the strong communities in the UK of Pakistani origin will also use their contacts through family and business to make the case for democracy and the rule of law."

In the last census in 2001, people of Pakistan origin in the United Kingdom numbered nearly 750,000.