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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Pakistan 'progress' in terror war
President Pervez Musharraf
The president said that extremism was dangerous for Pakistan
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said his country is winning its war against terror.

But in an interview with the Dawn newspaper, he said that the struggle would provoke more bomb attacks.

The president said that Pakistan had become a haven for a variety of foreign militant groups who had mixed with local religious extremists.

He congratulated law enforcement agencies for resolving 80%-90% of all terror cases in the past four years.

"We are meeting success in our operations," the president told the Dawn newspaper, "and I am sure we are on the winning side."

'Eliminating masterminds'

He said that the government was acting decisively against religious extremists, when previously nobody had the courage to do so.

I never said we will send troops [to Iraq], but I don't say that we will never send them
Pervez Musharraf

"They will set off bomb blasts, they will create problems for you, because we are arresting them and we are eliminating masterminds.

"The nation should understand that they will keep on confronting us and this problem will be with us... (because) we take up issues and not put them under the carpet," he said.

Last Friday, there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on prime minister-designate Shaukat Aziz, claimed by the Islambouli Brigades of al-Qaeda group.

The president has also been targeted in assassination attempts in the past year.

President Musharraf also said he was opposed to all forms of religious extremism, which he said was dangerous for Pakistan.

He denied tacitly supporting religious parties in the elections of October 2002 so that mainstream political groups such as the Pakistan People's Party would be sidelined.

In a wide ranging interview, the president hailed what he said was a "1,000%" improvement in the country's economy.

He said that the government would continue with its plans to reform religious schools, change blasphemy laws and bring an end to honour killings.

On the question of Pakistan sending troops to Iraq, the president said there was some domestic opposition.

"I never said we will send troops, but I don't say that we will never send them," he said.


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