BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 03:24 GMT 04:24 UK
Musharraf condemns Islamic militants
General Pervez Musharraf
Musharraf has banned several extremist groups
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has marked the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain with a stinging condemnation of Islamic militants in the country.

General Musharraf accused what he called an insignificant minority of holding Pakistan to ransom with their misconceived view of Islam.

Aftermath of Murree attack
Six died in the attack at a missionary school in Murree
He said a string of attacks on foreigners and Christians this year were both despicable and shameful and the death of innocent people served only to tarnish the image of Pakistan.

Ahead of the speech police in Pakistan said they had arrested at least 16 suspected members of militant groups in a series of raids in Punjab province.

Outlawed groups

A senior police official said those detained in the two-day operation included members of the outlawed militant groups, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Both groups are suspected of involvement in last week's attacks on a Christian hospital in the northern town of Taxila and a Christian school in the town of Murree, which left 10 people dead.

Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto has little chance of running for prime minister

Correspondents say the attacks have raised fears of a new wave of militancy aimed at Christian and Western targets.

The militant groups have been angered by Pakistan's support for the American-led war on terrorism, following the 11 September attacks on the United States.

In his speech General Musharraf said Pakistan's authorities had a long-term strategy in place to deal with militant groups, many of which, he said had already been broken up.

Security at the convention centre in Islamabad where General Musharraf made his address to the nation was extremely tight.

Election focus

During last year's independence day celebrations, General Musharraf announced nationwide elections would be held in October this year, and despite the turbulent events of the past 12 months the focus at the moment is again on the polls.

The president has come under fire for his amendments to the constitution which appear designed to prevent former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto from returning from abroad to take power, as well as strengthening the hand of the military.

The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad says General Musharraf lost support during the year because of his controversial referendum to stay in power for another five years.

The recent upsurge in violence and its effect on international confidence will be one of the main challenges for the president in the months ahead, our correspondent says.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

07 Jul 02 | South Asia
07 Jul 02 | South Asia
27 Jun 02 | South Asia
27 Jun 02 | South Asia
22 Apr 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes