Kashmir, nuke issues prompted Pak to join coalition: Musharraf
19 November 2001
The Indian Express
Islamabad: PRESIDENT Pervez Musharraf today said Pakistan’s security concerns as well as its core interests in Kashmir and safety of the nuclear programme motivated his Government to join the international coalition against terrorism. ‘‘Security of the country and our core interests of Kashmir and nuclear programme were kept uppermost while taking the decision after 11th September terrorist attacks in the United States,’’ he told elected chiefs of the local bodies here. He said as a result of its stand against terrorism, Pakistan gained diplomatically and stood at the centre-stage and became part of the international community to play its due role. Musharraf criticised the pro-Taliban extremist religious groups who continued to agitate opposing his new Afghan policy to oppose Taliban and Osama bin Laden. He said the country was facing a ‘‘very unhealthy situation on account of these extremist forces’’ and asked the local body heads to play a decisive role in their respective districts in the maintenance of law and order. Musharraf said, ‘‘We have to root out the menace of sectarianism and not let the mosques be used for fanning hatred.’’ Pakistan experienced periodic clashes between majority Sunni and minority Shia sects. Musharraf said all sects have a right to live in peace and pointed out that Islam teaches tolerance, love and justice. He said madrasas (Islamic seminaries) and mosques have been misused by a group of people and asked the local body chiefs to ensure that these important institutions were used for the purposes they were dedicated to and not for spreading hatred. Referring to the role of controversial madrasas, Musharraf said they were important welfare educational institutions and could not be allowed to be used as training centres for violence. He said the Government had taken certain steps to ensure that modern education was also provided along with religious education at these institutions.