Today's Paper

We are moving against militant elements: Musharraf

ISLAMABAD, DEC. 30. The Pakistan President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, tonight accused India of creating hurdles in the path of his Government in tackling extremism in the country by deploying troops on the borders.

Under tremendous international pressure, particularly the United States, Gen. Musharraf gave sufficient indications that his Government was moving against the militant elements.

In an informal chat with correspondents after presiding over an all-party conference here, Gen. Musharraf said that he would like to eradicate terrorism from Pakistan.

Asked whether he planed a crackdown on the militant organisations he said, ``This is what I am into for the last two or three months and consulting different sections of the society to take stock of the internal situation. I want to eradicate militancy, extremism and intolerance from the Pakistani society. I would like to eradicate all terrorism from the soil of Pakistan''.

He said ``we are already following a course of action to bring harmony, peace and tolerance to our society. The tension created by India on our borders is creating obstacles and is slowing down the process that I wanted to follow''.

He said there were domestic issues and sensitivities and they get heightened because of the tensions on the eastern borders. The purpose of consulting politicians was to take them into confidence about the actions planned by his regime.

On the present situation, he said, ``We are hoping for the best and are prepared for the worst. We are assessing the situation and judging the movements. I hope the military movement does not lead to war''.

On a dialogue with India, he said, ``if the Prime Minister does not want the dialogue, I am not at all keen on it. I am for dialogue and I keep on saying this and India keeps on rejecting which gives me a feeling that I am begging with India''.

He said, ``I have always been saying that I do not mind the dialogue. But this should be acceptable to the other side. If they accept it we do not reject at all''. On mediation by a third party, he said ``we would like anybody to play a useful and positive role in defusing the tension''.

Referring to his talk with the U.S. President, Mr. George W. Bush, last night he said, ``I am very glad to say that President Bush is already conscious of the situation and we discussed the mounting tension. He understands that there is a requirement for restraint for both the sides. I did interact with him and gave my view about the situation. My view of the situation is tension is mounting because of actions from the Indian side and Pakistan is only reacting. Therefore the advice to reduce the tension should be more for India and less on Pakistan''.He claimed complete support from all political parties in his efforts to defuse the tensions as well as to prepare for war. He said ``there was total consensus of views and I have the support of all political parties''.

Referring to the tensions on the borders, he said, ``there is tension on the eastern border. There is a degree of anxiety and we are taking all counter measures''. He said, ``we only hope that sanity prevails. I want to utilise this forum to carry a message to Indian People.

``Let the two countries move towards peace and harmony. However, Pakistan has taken all counter measures. If any war is thrust on Pakistan, the Pakistan armed forces and the 140 million people of Pakistan are fully prepared to face all consequences with all their might,'' he said.

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