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Musharraf returns from four-nation visit
January 29, 2008 13:28 IST
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] returned to Islamabad on Tuesday from a four-nation visit to Europe during which he attempted to shore up support for his controversial regime.
Besides attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland [Images], Musharraf met the leaders of Belgium, France [Images] and Britain and held talks on a wide range of issues, including the situation in Pakistan and the probe into former premier Benazir Bhutto's [Images] assassination.
The president also had two unscheduled meetings with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Paris last week, during which the two leaders discussed the security of Pakistan's atomic arsenal and Iran's nuclear programme.
Musharraf was received at the Chaklala air force base by caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro, National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani and senior civil and military officers.
Talking to reporters in London [Images] before flying back to Pakistan, Musharraf said his visit had been helpful in consolidating political and economic ties at the bilateral and regional levels.
Musharraf assured the world community that Pakistan was on the right track, stemming militancy in the tribal areas and maintaining economic sustainability. He also reiterated his commitment to hold free, fair and transparent polls in a peaceful atmosphere on February 18.
He said he had assured world leaders and business representatives that efforts to destabilise Pakistan would never succeed as the country's armed forces and security agencies are strong enough to protect the nation.
All institutions of the country are functioning smoothly and there will be no problem in completing the process of democratic transition on the scheduled date, he said.