June 2003 News

Pakistan curbing terrorism: Musharraf tells Blair nothing happening along LoC

17 June 2003
The Dawn

LONDON: Pakistan is clamping down on all forms of extremism, President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday after talks in London with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 'Pakistan is totally acting against any form of extremism, any form of religious extremism,' Mr Musharraf told reporters after meeting Mr Blair in Downing Street. Such extremism had three forms in Pakistan, he said Osama bin Laden's Al- Qaeda network, elements of Afghanistan's toppled Taliban regime, and 'our own religious extremists and militants.' 'We are acting against all three. We are meeting great success in all that,' Mr Musharraf said. 'I am sure the United States knows that and Britain also knows and understands that.' The president arrived on Tuesday in London at the start of a four- nation tour that takes him next to the United States, where he is scheduled to meet US President George W. Bush at his Camp David retreat on June 24. Mr Musharraf will then also travel to Germany and France.Mr Blair did not speak to journalists after Tuesday's talks, but Foreign Office officials said ahead of President Musharraf's trip that the British prime minister would press him to clamp down on extremists and encourage Pakistan to improve relations with neighbours, especially India. President Musharraf said 'There is nothing happening on the Line of Control', which separates portions of Kashmir controlled by India and Pakistan.'Let us not be blackmailed on this issue by India,' he added. 'Some of their leaders continuously harp on this issue.' 'It's simply not true. It's my word against theirs. But I am very sure nothing is happening on the Line of Control.'Mr Musharraf said Mr Blair's views on the issue were 'very clear.' 'He's for discussion of the issue and going for a resolution of the issue. The solution has to depend basically on India and Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. He can only facilitate and encourage us to find a solution.' Mr Musharraf said he had also discussed Iraq, Afghanistan and bilateral issues with the British leader.'We had an excellent interaction. We talked on issues of concern to both countries. There's total understanding on our bilateral issues and a desire to resolve issues of concern. 'It was a very wholesome discussion and we had a total understanding of each other's positions,' Mr Musharraf added.The meeting between the two leaders follows talks in London on on Monday between Mr Blair and Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani focusing on India-Pakistan issues and Iraq. During talks with Mr Blair, the president was assisted by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar and Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Abdul Kader Jaffer. Mr Blair was helped by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and UK High Commissioner to Islamabad Mark Lyall Grant. Earlier, when the president arrived here, he was received at the airport by Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Abdul Kader Jaffer, UK High commissioner to Islamabad Mark Lyall Grant, Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner to UK Attiya Mahmood, representative of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Julie Pocock and other senior officials of the High Commission. A contingent of Royal Air Force presented him a salute on arrival at the Heathrow Airport.Talking to newsmen at the Islamabad Airport before his departure to London, President Gen Pervez Musharraf said that Pakistan wanted to build a long-term and strategic relationship with the United States and Europe. He was seen off at the airport by Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Muhammad Aziz and Vice Chief of the Army Staff Gen Mohammad Yusuf. After the meeting the British Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Sir Michael Walker and Secretary of State for International Development Baroness Amos called on President Gen Pervez Musharraf separately.-AFP-APP


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