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Musharraf akan hapuskan pejuang Islam

Musharraf promises to wipe out militants using tribal areas
By Imtiaz Shah, Correspondent

Larkana, March 1 - President Pervez Musharraf, facing criticism from some US and Afghan leaders over attacks by Taliban from across the border, vowed yesterday to wipe out such elements taking sanctuary in the tribal areas.

"People have come from outside. These people should leave [Pakistan] and go, otherwise we will have to deal with them and we are dealing with them," Gen Musharraf told a public rally in Larkana, a stronghold of Benazir Bhutto, the chairperson of opposition Pakistan's Peoples Party.

Musharraf's comments on the presence of foreign militants on Pakistan's soil followed a surprise visit by US vice-president Dick Cheney to the country on Monday.

Cheney expressed US apprehensions of regrouping of Al Qaida in the tribal areas, called for concreted efforts in countering the threat, and pressed Gen Musharraf to be more aggressive in hunting down Al Qaida operatives.

The use of Pakistani territory by the Taliban and Al Qaida has soured Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. Some Afghan leaders have accused Islamabad of failing to do enough to stop infiltration, or even of continuing support to Taliban.

Islamabad says it does all it can and struck a deal with pro-Taliban rebels in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan under which the militants agreed to stop raids in both Pakistan and across the border.

Musharraf said Pakistan was facing threats of extremism and terrorism because of these foreign militants.

"They have all come and are living in our mountains and spreading terrorism not just in Pakistan but in the entire world," he said.

"I want to say, taking benefit of this occasion [public meeting in Larkana] that these people are putting Pakistan in danger," Musharraf added.

Hundreds of Pakistani troops and rebels have been killed in the Waziristan region as the government tries to establish its authority over the semi-autonomous tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Musharraf said Islam is a religion of peace, harmony and tolerance and there is no place for extremist and terrorist tendencies in the religion.

"We have to check such tendencies, otherwise the country will not be able to move on to the path of progress and development," he added.

He dismissed the use of the concept of "jihad" by extremists and said it was only the prerogative of the government and not individuals to use it.

"We want moderation, we are strong Muslims and fully understand our obligations and responsibilities," he said, asking the people not to vote for extremist elements in the next general election, which is expected to be held next year. Gulfnews

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