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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Musharraf rejects 'traitor' tag
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said he is not a traitor to his own people.

Al-Jazeera's footage showing Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden: Probably still alive, says Musharraf
General Musharraf, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, was speaking to the BBC on the second anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

He was responding to a tape, purportedly from al-Qaeda, in which the man said to be Osama Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, denounces General Musharraf as a "traitor" and calls on Pakistanis to overthrow him.

General Musharraf also said he believed relations between Muslims and the West had worsened since the attacks in New York and Washington.

Asked whether he thought Bin Laden was alive, President Musharraf said he thought he was, probably somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

He said the Pakistani authorities were doing their best to catch the al-Qaeda leader and his supporters, who are blamed for the attacks in which 3,000 people were killed.

Bridging the divide

President Musharraf said Islam and the West needed to work to bridge the differences which had led to the 2001 attacks.

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Answering questions from BBC listeners and web users, he told the BBC's Talking Point programme that Islam had to decide between militancy and emancipation.

The course it should adopt, he urged, was one of "enlightened moderation".

For its part, the West, he said, needed to help resolve disputes involving Muslims so that justice was seen to be done.

"Afghanistan alone is not the issue. The issue is Iraq also now and the Palestinian issue, where on the television you see a tussle between David and Goliath, where tanks and guns are being faced by stone-throwing individuals."

The West, he said, should also help promote education and poverty alleviation in the Muslim world, in order to address issues at the root of the divide between the two communities.

Schools 'misused'

President Musharraf said his government was cracking down on Islamic religious schools, or madrasas, which are seen as a breeding ground for militancy.

The vast majority of Pakistanis believe in an enlightened vision of Islam, they are not at all extremist
Pervez Musharraf
Some madrasas and mosques, he said, were being "misused" to spread religious and sectarian hatred.

"I am sure we will meet success."

There have been numerous attacks on religious and foreign targets in Pakistan in the last two years.

In one incident last July, more than 50 people were killed in the city of Quetta when suspected Sunni Muslim extremists attacked a Shia mosque.

President Musharraf said no security agency in the world could guarantee 100% protection for its population.

"All the militant organisations have been banned and their offices sealed."

'No outside interference'

The taped call broadcast on the al-Jazeera television channel for the overthrow of President Musharraf has received a muted response from opposition parties in Pakistan.

President Musharraf
General Musharraf: Bin Laden could be in Pakistan
"As far as General Pervez Musharraf is concerned, we do not want outsiders to tell us what to do," Liaqat Baloch of the alliance of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, told the BBC.

Senator Farhatullah Babar from Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party said such calls were a result of the general's policies and his "subversion of the constitution and democracy".




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