The European Union, expressing its concern over the Pakistani president's declaration of a state of emergency, appealed to Gen. Pervez Musharraf to keep his country on a path toward a return to democracy. The 27-nation EU also urged the Pakistani leader to stick to plans to hold parliamentary elections early next year. "The European Commission is concerned about reports concerning the state of emergency in Pakistan. It is very important that the country continues democratic transition, and the elections are held in the context of the constitutional process," EU spokesman Alain Bloedt said. "Pakistan needs a rapid return to democracy." Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday and replaced the Supreme Court's chief justice before the court's crucial ruling on his future as president. The president's steps thrust his country deeper into political turmoil as it struggles to contain spreading Islamic militancy.