( dpa ) - Democracy in Pakistan is "back on track" and elections rescheduled for February 18 will be "free, fair and transparent," Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said Thursday.
He said that since the "unfortunate" assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in December - which saw the cancellation of the January 8 elections - stringent measures have been taken to ensure electoral transparency next month.
Musharraf, speaking in Davos in Switzerland at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, said that whoever won the election would form a government and he was happy to work with anyone.
He said extra measures had been necessary, referring to the recent state of emergency he imposed, as democracy had been "derailed" and the sovereignty of the parliament "violated." But now "everything was back on track."
Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999, met Wednesday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who reportedly pressed him for guarantees over Pakistan's elections.
The Pakistan president said the "essence of democracy" had been introduced in the country through the empowerment of women and minorities, and he said the fight against extremism and terrorism was continuing in a "very holistic fashion."
Musharraf also repeated his recent assurances that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was safe from terrorists: "We have multi-layered custodial controls established in accord with the best international practice and there is no way these assets can fall into the hands of terrorists."