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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 17:10 GMT
Pakistan's war on extremism: Your views
In a keynote speech, Pakistan's President Musharraf has set out new measures aimed at combating religious extremism and curbing militant groups.
He announced a ban on two organisations - Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - that India blames for a deadly attack on its parliament in December.
And he also outlawed two radical Muslim groups, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Tehrik-e-Jaffria accused of much of the sectarian violence in Pakistan.
General Musharraf stressed the need for continued reform of Pakistan's religious schools which are perceived to encourage militancy and helped the development of the Taleban.
He also underlined the importance of dialogue in trying to resolve the dispute with India over Kashmir.
Has the Pakistani president gone far enough? Will his measures work? Can they succeed in lessening tension between the two nuclear rivals?
This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
President Musharaff's measures against Islamic terrorism will not work. He is a man of war and is only buying time for more preparation to attack India from Kashmir side. Future events will show this.
The speech given by President Musharraf was absolutely historical. Musharraf will keep his promises and will put his every word into action. He is a honest man. The whole world knows that the speech was wonderful and so does India. I am so glad that Pakistan has such a wonderful president at this difficult time.
Musharraf is either not sincere or he is not capable of translating his words into actions. The recent attack on the Indian parliament and the attack on the Kashmir assembly should be an eye opener for those who still trust him. He himself declared the attacks as 'terrorist acts'. Now since these acts were committed by pakistan based groups (Jaish and Lashkar), this fact makes it clear that the general is either not able to control the terrorist elements inside his country or he is not sincere on the promises he is making to the world.
As for me, I know the general and the previous rulers of Pakistan have always betrayed India, whenever India extended the hand of friendship, like the Delhi-Lahore bus service (not just an informal handshake!).
And so I believe India must not withdraw the forces from the border. On the contrary, she should be ready for any misadventure from Pakistan, as they might try their best to show the world that Kashmir struggle is 'genuine'. One only needs to see the ammunition recovered from the terrorists.Whwere did they get their hands on a gun like AK-47? The speech is not addressed for India, it was for the west. India should not take any positive note of it.
Its a welcome change in pakistan's attitude towards Islamic terrorism. As India expects, Pakistan should act upon it for their own good. Religious extremism is a medieval phenomenon and Pakistan will have to shed it in deed and words in order to make their country on par with other parts of the world. India and the international community should continue to exert pressure on Pakistan to eradicate this menace of religious terrorism.
Finally Pakistan has admitted to what she had denied for over a decade - cross border terrorism. Why should India believe in what is Pakistan's new sermons. I only hope that having learnt bitter lessons, Pakistan will now learn to live peacefully with her neighbors
Dr. V. Ramamoorthy, India
How can we trust Pakistan? This president has been saying that there are no Pakistani terrorists. Now all of a sudden there are so many that he has rounded them up. Why are we praising this general so much? He has created the Taleban. He was responsible for Kargil. He was responsible for failure of talks between Bajpayee and Nawaz Sharif. This general didn't even attend the guard of honour at Bajapi's visit to Pakistan. Now all of a sudden he is a peacemaker. What a joke! He can fool Americans but not for too long hopefully.
Musharraf's speech came only after strong international pressure, and he has delivered it only to please the international community. I don't think he is sincere, and I don't have any belief in him.
I think India should Attack Training camps in Pakistan, destroy everything related to terrorism, and finish this conflict for forever. We are suffering from it from decades, India has to take the strong steps. If there is nuclear war, let it be.
I believe Musharraf has done a good job in the past by putting the country together. He has a capable administration to tackle the problems Pakistan faces today. As a Pakistani Musharraf has the insight to protect the country from the alien elements. India is not the oppressed, Kashmir is. If the international community is really interested for a solution than in my belief neither Pakistan nor India has the right to decide for Kashmiri people. Armies of both the countries should move into their own country and let Kashmiri live in peace in their own land. By sending spies across and bullying each other they will gain nothing.
I don't know what Musharraf has to do to convince India. Whatever he does is met with scepticism. It's as if India wants him to fail so it can have an excuse to attack Pakistan. It cannot bear to see Pakistan on the road to progress. While it is good Musharraf is cracking down on extremists, the US and world community need to reign India in, as India is itself acting like a terrorist, threatening to attack - an act of terror - if its demands are not met.
The international community does not know or does not care that India has been suffering from Pakistan sponsored terrorism for decades. Musharraf is bending a little because of pressure from U.S. He has to hand over the terrorists to India too. Only then will we see if Musharraf's effort is genuine.
I could not see anything new in this speech. What really matters is what are the concrete steps on the ground and what is the net effect of the same. Every time Musharraf has shook hands with Vajpayee it has been followed by a terrorist attack of some kind. One is almost forced to believe that Musharraf is running with the hare and hunting with the hounds
Anis Dani, USA
Musharraf's stand against extremism was bold and realistic. Now it's India's turn to take action against extremism in their own country. RRR and other Hindu parties in India itself are the extremist. They have numbers of human right violations against Kashmiris, Sikhs, Christians, Tamils. How come the international community neglects this kind of oppression?
At last, Pakistan has realized the folly in pursuing the decades-long policy of supporting the terrorists - it has come extremely close to being declared a "terrorist state" by the international community. I am happy for the people of Pakistan that they have a leader now, in General Musharraf, who has taken this lesson learnt very well. But, he should now use his resources in stopping all support to the terrorists who kill innocent Kashmiri people. Once the violence is drastically reduced, then the issue of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir can be resolved diplomatically. Here's to a lasting peace!
I think President Musharaff has showed the world that his resolve and his commitment are unquestionable. It seems odd that in this whole conflict and talk about terrorism, the world has forgotten about the people that are directly affected by this problem: the people of Kashmir. Nobody has tried to ask the people in Kashmir what they want. And nobody has ever wondered why India has been refusing to let the Kashmir people vote on what they want done to them. After all, it is their land, their lives that are stake. That raises a serious question in my mind. What does India have to hide? Why does Inida need over half a million troops inside a territory whose population is far less than the population of Bombay or Calcutta. What is India hiding?
President Musharraf's speech lacked the necessary elements to bring India and Pakistan closer. He is trying to maintain a very delicate balance in pleasing the West and keeping the hotheads in his country on his side, by raising the issue of Kashmir again and again. I am of the firm belief that this issue will never be resolved completely. Despite the efforts by the international community, which I find strange (praising Musharraf, knowing well that Islamic extremism was bred by his administration), calling India for restraint, this conflict is just being delayed.
The speech by Musharraf seems to be a good start towards bringing some sanity to Pakistan.
Sharad Bhuskute, Seattle, WA, USA/INDIA
One thing we must acknowledge that no politician could make such an address in order to keep his/her so-called governmental alliances. It is a historic speech with reforms that Pakistan always needed. It is not only the President who is going to deliver it, but we, as Pakistanis, also have the duty to play our role to make these reforms happen. Let's join hands with the President and take Pakistan into a brighter tomorrow.
This a welcome step in the right direction, if really implemented. Decades of hate have let the people of India and Pakistan forget that they have a lot in common; if only the differences didn't dog us.
Arvind, India (live in the UK)
This was a powerful speech which has allayed the fears of Pakistani nation. It will help the whole nation to stand together, and united. The handing over of the wanted Pakistani nationals is a far fetched demand as there is no substantial evidence against them and even if they provide the evidence then Pakistanis should be tried by Pakistan or an international court. What about those Indians who have been slaughtering innocent Kashmiris. The state terrorism of India must be condemned. The Kashmir issue must be solved according to the UN resolution which says that Kashmiris should decide themselves about their fate.
The last time Pakistan talked 'sincerely' of peace (in Lahore), its army was organising a massive covert infiltration in Kargil. India needs to be fully ready for war, as it is likely to occur again. Decades of hate have let the people of India and Pakistan forget that they have a lot in common; if only the differences didn't dog us
Musharraf did not address the concerns of India, he used India to tackle Pakistan┐s problems. He says that the Kashmiri situation has to be settled according to the wishes of the Pakistani people. Indians have their strong views about Kashmir as well and they are not going to play dead while Pakistan pursues their own sinister agenda.
The speech given by General Pervez Musharraf was just a PR exercise. It was meant to please the international community in general and US in specific. General Musharraf is a person who is not to be trusted.
Jayant Mehta, USA
It is amusing to note that Pakistan is going this far only after an Indian military build-up. Likewise they rejected the Taleban only after Sept 11, fearing US retaliation. I would request the Indians keep them under pressure for some further time, until all the religious extremism from Pakistan is wiped clean.
Dr. R.P. Sehgal, Canada
Musharraf is trying to solve his problem (sectarian violence in Pakistan) by using India as an excuse. That is fine but he has nothing to sell to India in his speech (and the Indian leadership would be well advised not to buy what he is saying) as we do not care what happens to Pakistan. We have our own interests first, i.e. either Pakistan stops the proxy war against India or faces real war.
Farid Khan, USA/Pakistan
This is a historic speech indeed. President Musharraf has taken on the forces of bigotry and extremism, without giving up Pakistan's principled stand on the disputed state of Kashmir. The only people who will be disappointed by his speech are the extremists in Pakistan and those Indians who had been hoping that President Musharraf would "beg India for forgiveness".
Michael Entill, UK
The thing Muslims must understand is that the reputation of Islam is being severely damaged internationally by the activities of the numerous terror groups claiming Islam as their motivation.
Let's see what happens next.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE
Islamic extremism is a seedbed for terrorism and it should be stamped out. Musharraf's measures may not please Amnesty International but we are at war with terror and in a war, anything goes.
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