UK says world united in urging Pakistan poll

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LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) Britain said on Monday that world powers agreed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf must resign as army chief, go ahead with January elections, release political prisoners and lift media restrictions.

After talks with US and European counterparts, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he had discussed Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the foreign ministers of Germany and Portugal, current holder of the European Union's presidency.

He had also spoken to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and planned talks with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

''It is very strongly in the interests of the stability of Pakistan that democracy and the rule of law are the order of the day. I hope that the government of Pakistan listens to this,'' he told reporters.

''There's real unity in the international community that this is what we should be saying,'' Miliband said. ''If reports that the government has decided to proceed with elections are right then that's obviously a good thing. All of our efforts are directed to that end.'' Forme colonial power Britain said earlier it was considering whether Musharraf's action on Saturday would affect British aid.

''We are considering the implications for our development and other assistance programmes in Pakistan,'' a spokesman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters.

Britain is giving 236 million pounds (491 million dollars) in aid to Pakistan over 2005-2008, according to the Department for International Development.

Last year, Britain signed a new 10-year development partnership with Pakistan and pledged to double aid to 480 million pounds in the three-year period to 2011.

Musharraf cited spiralling militancy and an obstructive judiciary in arguing his defence of Saturday's move to suspend the constitution.

He has slapped reporting curbs on the media in a bid to stop protest spilling onto the streets amid Pakistan's biggest crisis since he took power in a 1999 coup.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan's internal security has deteriorated sharply in the past few months with a wave of suicide attacks by al Qaeda-inspired militants.


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