January 2002 News

Musharraf bans Lashkar, Jaish; says no terrorism on name of Kashmir

12 January 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Islamabad: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tonight banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), blamed for the terrorist attack on Parliament but ruled out handing over their leaders to India even as he announced a series of decisions to crack down on Islamic extremism. In an hour-long nationally telecast address, Musharraf ruled out handing over of any of Pakistani citizens included in the list of 20 terrorists wanted by India. ''The question of handing over any Pakistani does not arise. We shall never do it.'' While refusing to handover any Pakistani citizens sought by India in connection with the attack on Parliament, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and other crimes, Musharraf said that if the Government found evidence against them ''we will try them in our country''. He also added that the non- Pakistanis named in the Indian list had not been given asylum in this country. ''If they are found here then we will think of taking appropriate action against them.'' During the much-awaited address, the Pakistani President, dressed in a black ĎAchkaní, appeared tense in sharp contrast to his usual flamboyant style. He appeared to be rambling during the first half of the address before announcing specific decisions against extremism and terrorism. Stating ''Kashmir runs in our blood'', Musharraf declared that Pakistan would never ''budge an inch from our principled stand on Kashmir''. But no organisation would be allowed to indulge in terrorism in the name of Kashmir, he said. Addressing Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the military ruler recalled the Indian leaderís recent statement that mindsets have to be altered and historical baggage has to be jettisoned. ''I take you on this offer and let us start talking in this spirit,'' he told Vajpayee. He reaffirmed Pakistanís ''moral, political and diplomatic'' support to the Kashmir ''cause'' but said the issue has to be solved in a peaceful manner through dialogue taking into consideration the wishes of the people there and the UN resolution. Putting on the cap of the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistanís armed forces, Musharraf talked tough and warned India that any attempt to cross the border would be met with ''full force''. ''Donít try to cross the border. We will use our full might in giving a fitting response,'' he told India. Addressing the international community, especially the United States, Musharraf declared that Pakistan rejected terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. ''Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for any terrorist activity in the world,'' he said switching over to English from Urdu. He then invited the US to play an ''active role in solving the Kashmir dispute for the sake of lasting peace and harmony in the region''. Musharraf denounced the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the Oct one strike against the J and K Assembly in Srinagar and the Dec 13 attack on Indian Parliament as terrorist acts. Announcing a series of measures to curb Islamic extremism, he banned the Sunni extremist groups Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and its Shiate rival Tehreek- i-Jafria Pakistan, blaming them for sectarian violence which had claimed more than 400 lives last year. He also banned Tehreek-i-Nifaz- e-Shariat Mohammedi (TNSM). All religious schools (Madrasas) are to be registered by March end, no such school would open without Government permission and foreign students seeking admission to such institutions will also have to seek the Governmentís permission. Warning that misuse of mosques will be dealt with sternly, Musharraf said all the mosques should be registered and no new mosques would be allowed without a ''no objection certificate'' from the Government. He said loudspeakers in the mosque cannot be used beyond prayer time. Madrasas and mosques misused by extremists for terrorism and violence would be closed down, he said. There would be an ordinance on regulation of Madrasas soon which would be issued in consultation with Imams, he assured. Expressing his total disapproval over the current state of affairs in the running of religious institutions and the bad image it gave to the country worldwide, Musharraf recounted that ever since he took over in Oct 1999 he had been discussing and taking steps to curb religious and sectarian extremism from Pakistani society. He particularly referred to his establishing contacts with the Taliban leadership including Mullah Omar and his constant counsel to them to shed hatred and violence and adopt tolerance. But the attempts were unsuccessful, he added.


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