Pakistan Bans Lashker,
Jaish But Reaffirms
Support To Kashmir

By Indo-Asian News Service

Islamabad (IANS) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Saturday banned two terrorist groups that India has blamed for the attack on its Parliament but reiterated Islamabad's unflinching support for the cause of the Kashmiri people.
In an hour-long speech in which he touched on issues ranging from Kashmir to terrorism and from reform of madrassas (religious seminaries) to fundamentalism, Musharraf also rejected New Delhi's demand for extradition of 20 suspected terrorists and criminals wanted for crimes in India.
He said categorically that no Pakistani would be extradited while non-Pakistanis will be dealt with strictly according to the law and evidence supplied by India.
"We have not given any asylum to non-Pakistanis. We will consider what action to take against them," Musharraf said.
Directly addressing Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Musharraf appealed for a dialogue and quoted him to say that "Mindsets will have to be altered and historical baggage will have to be jettisoned."
"I take you up on this offer. Let us start talking in this very spirit," Musharraf told Vajpayee.
At the same time, he warned that Pakistan was fully prepared to meet any military challenge and said if India were to try any military adventurism across the border, Pakistan's armed forces will respond with full vigour and might.
Musharraf also appealed to the international community, particularly the U.S., to play an active role in resolving the Kashmir issue and to closely monitor what he termed as "state terrorism" and actions of the Indian security forces in the state.
"Kashmir runs in our blood. No Pakistani can sever connections with Kashmir. We will continue our moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmir cause. There is no going back on this," Musharraf said.
Bracketing the October 1 attack on the Kashmir assembly and the December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament with the September 11 terror strikes, Musharraf said Pakistan condemned the acts and would take strong action against organisations and groups indulging in such activities in future.
"Pakistan will not permit any organisation resorting to terrorism anywhere in the world," Musharraf said.
Projecting himself at once as a political and social reformer and a renaissance man, Musharraf sought to bring about wide-ranging reforms in the country's religious institutions like mosques and madrassas, in the police and in the judiciary and sternly warned that any violations of the country's laws in this regard would be severely punished.
He said Pakistan had earned a bad name because of the association of certain religious-extremist elements with the Taliban and said that his government's efforts would be to project the country as a modern, progressive and Islamic society where the rule of law prevailed and the writ of the government extended to the entire country and all its institutions.
Copyright © 2001 IANS India Private Limited. All rights Reserved.

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