Davos/London, Jan 26: President Pervez Musharraf has reiterated that Pakistan opposes the prospect of US forces on its soil, and said that the US should beef up its presence in Afghanistan to deal with the insurgency there.
Responding to a question on US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' offer to send a small number of troops to Pakistan, Musharraf said: "This cannot be done by any US force. Please don't think that the US forces have some kind of a magic wand and they'll come and lead to success." He said the US needed more forces in Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan would ask for US help if it needed it.
Later, talking to security and defence experts at the Royal United Services Institute in London, he said he was a strong believer in freedom of speech, as long it did not lead to violence and destruction.
Musharraf said there were three areas in which the West misunderstood Pakistan; the notion that the dismissal of judges was somehow a human rights issue, that next month's elections might not be free or fair and that Pakistan's nuclear weapons were not properly secured.
He also termed his visit to Belgium, France and Switzerland highly productive as it provided him an opportunity to correct the national image.
The Daily Times quoted Musharraf as saying that he was looking forward to meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday to discuss wide-ranging issues of common interest.