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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.
A. Thur, UK

If he implements all or most of what he has said, he would be chartering the new glorious path of Pakistan.

Giri, India
I would rate Gen. Musharraff as the most courageous to even talk so much. The appreciations would soar high, if he 'walks the talk'. If he implements all or most of what he has said, he would be chartering the new glorious path of Pakistan. We in India have reservations about Kashmir, expectedly. But I believe, both he and our PM Vajpayee have the ability to resolve the Kashmir dispute amicably, between Pakistan and India to the satisfaction of the Kashmiris. The road ahead is long, but I sincerely wish and hope that both will succeed eventually, to the benefit of the South Asia.
Giri, India

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.
Pinar Zuberi, USA

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.
Prashant Mishra, San Diego, USA

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.
Pakiki Maakifuddi, Uganda

India must give an oppurtunity to Musharaf to act against these extremists

Renju, UAE
I would like to say India must give an oppurtunity to Musharaf to act against these extremists, though he proved himself to be an extremist and a liar with misgiving in the past. Everyone needs peace. But the crucial point is whether India is going to believe his words or not!."Experience is the best teacher "
Renju, UAE

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
Himmat Singh, USA

I have seen nothing new and fresh in Musharraf's speech.

Dr. V. Ramamoorthy, India
I have seen nothing new and fresh in Musharraf┐s speech. But I wonder how the so called pillars of democracies of the western world believe in a military tyrant who captured power at the point of guns. These western powers should understand that India is a democracy throughout its nationhood after independence and how the rulers in Pakistan conquered power through bullet rather than ballot. Let the world hear the voice of democracy with at least one ear rather than giving praise for a military tyrant. At least the whole world knows the situation in which Musharraf came to power - sacking the then PM of Pakistan as he attempted to make peace with India
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.
Mountabu, USA

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.
Santosh, India

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.
Zaheer Abbasi , United Kingdom

With this crackdown I hope that Pakistani society can begin to purge itself of fanatics.

Jamaldin, USA
President Musharraf has done the right thing for Pakistan. Pakistan needs religious nuts like it needs a hole in the head and with this crack down I hope that Pakistani society can begin to purge itself of fanatics. My message to India is that I thank you for putting pressure on our leaders to get rid of religious extremists. However, India should realize that it will never be able to control the Kashmiri people. It's unwillingness to resolve the Kashmir issue fairly is the root cause of the problems between Pakistan and India.
Jamaldin, USA

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.
Adil Siddiqi, Pakistan/USA

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.
Bharati, U.S.A.

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
Murali, India

The more support he gets from the international community, the more likely he is to succeed

Anis Dani, USA
President Musharraf has taken a courageous step that was long overdue. Religious extremism has been festering for many decades. Those who follow Pakistan's politics closely know that several actions against the extremists predate September 11, first in January, then last June and then again in August. The international coalition against terrorism has provided Gen. Musharraf the legitimacy he needs to clean his house, but they cannot claim credit for the measures that predate their interest in Pakistan. The road ahead is fraught with risks. The more support he gets from the international community, the more likely he is to succeed. While India's initial response is one of cautious optimism, if he leaders wish to eliminate the Kashmir problem permanently they will have to seek a political solution. Even a giant cannot afford to let a wound fester. Maybe better sense will prevail and the Kashmiris will finally be allowed to live in peace on their own terms.
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?
SZ Noor, USA

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!
Subodh, USA

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.
Tony Sohal, Canada

The speech by Musharraf seems to be a good start towards bringing some sanity to Pakistan.

Without action, the speech alone is useless

Sharad Bhuskute, US
Let us hope that the leader and his country now eliminates the militancy and terror in the country and in Kashmir, and brings some civility in the population. Without action, the speech alone is useless.
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.
Rashid, Pakistan / UK

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.

Decades of hate have let the people of India and Pakistan forget that they have a lot in common

Arvind, UK
Looking at the EU today, where countries that once used to fight each other work together now, my dream that one day India and Pakistan will be friendly neighbours is stronger than ever. Given Musharraf's delicate position at the moment, his actions deserve appreciation. While not the end of hostilities yet, its a step. Religious extremism must go!
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.
Abdul Kabir, Pakistan

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
Somnath Mukhopadhyay, United kingdom

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.
R. Sanka, USA

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.
Jayesh Bindra, India

India is not likely to be appeased by speeches

Jayant Mehta, USA
Musharaf's speech is a step in the right direction but falls well short of meeting India's demands of handing over terrorists against whom ample proof has been submitted to Pakistan. India is not likely to be appeased by speeches. It is looking for action rather than words.
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.
Danny, USA

His speech was little more than platitudes

Dr. R.P. Sehgal, Canada
General Musharaf has finally realised the prevalence of terrorism in his country and the role his regime played in supporting forces that brought about ruin of Afghanistan. However, he confessed that the mentality of extremism and intolerance generated is not easy to be uproot. He has no plans to curb militant intrusion into Kashmir and meet the demands of India to return hijackers who have sought asylum in Pakistan. His speech was little more than platitudes and does not bode well for his regime.
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.
Rajnish Kaushik, USA

Militant religious extremism has eaten the core of Pakistani society

Farid Khan, USA/Pakistan
The announced measures have got to work. Otherwise, Pakistan will only have a dismal and bleak future, dragging the region down with itself. Militant religious extremism has eaten the core of Pakistani society. People with money do not want to invest there, people with talent want to run away and people with moderate views just want to hide in closets. This will eventually leave only the unskilled, desperate, and fanatic lunatics in charge of 140 million folks.
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".
Nausherwan Lahori, Lahore, Pakistan

Let's hope Musharraf can deliver

Michael Entill, UK
Pakistan needs, as Musharraf has said, radical reform. Islamic extremism is not only expressing itself as terrorism but also fostering a climate of nihilism, ignorance and anti-modernism that has for many years been a major factor preventing the country from overcoming its economic crisis, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives to disease and poverty. Moderation, education and dynamism are required if Pakistan is to develop. Let's hope Musharraf can deliver.
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.
Paul, UK

A very courageous move

Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE
It's a very courageous move by Musharraf and realistically one should not expect more from him in one go. Religious fanatics have no role to play either in religion or the running of the country. Thousands of innocent people have been killed in Kashmir as well as within Pakistan's own boundaries by these so-called militant groups. India expects more, and rightly so, but they must have patience and allow Musharraf to deal with these outfits in his own way. Over time we shall know whether these steps are enough or not to contain the ever-rising tension between the two countries. BUT it's a start.
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.
Jeff, USA

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Will Musharraf's crackdown on extremism work?



813 Votes Cast

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See also:

12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Musharraf declares war on extremism
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf on a tightrope
11 Jan 02 | South Asia
India 'ready for war'
07 Jan 02 | South Asia
Blair urges Kashmir dialogue
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