Pervez Musharraf has lifted a ban on Pakistan's most popular television station, less than a month before parliamentary elections
which could be pivotal in the country's return to democracy.
Geo News and its sister sports channel began broadcasting at 6pm yesterday, just hours after the Pakistani president began his eight-day EU tour in which he is seeking to reassure Pakistan's partners that the democratic transition is still on
course, despite the assassination of Benazir Bhutto last month.
Speaking in Brussels, Musharraf referred to what he called the west's "obsession" with democracy and appealed for Pakistan to be given more time to improve its record on human rights and civil liberties.
Musharraf had been under pressure from Europe to lift the ban on Geo News, one of the restrictions left after a six-week state of emergency ended last month.
But the news channel, which had intensively covered his stand-off with the Pakistani judiciary last year, had to agree to a code of conduct, limiting criticism of the head of state, before going back on air.
Geo had also been forced to drop shows by journalists unpopular with the regime, claimed Reporters Without Borders: This constitutes yet further evidence that censorship is unfortunately still the rule just a few weeks before the elections
scheduled for February 18 .