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Musharraf says focus from al-Qaeda shifted to Taliban

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 20, IRNA
Pakistan-Musharraf
President General Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that the focus against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan has now been shifted to Taliban, who are based in southern Afghanistan.

Six to seven hundred Al Qaeda members were arrested in cities and government took action against others in mountains and succeeded.

Now focus has shifted to Taliban, General Musharraf told the nation over radio and television.

He assured that military action against terrorists will continue and no one will be allowed to cross the border.

He categorically stated that no foreign terrorists will be allowed on Pakistani soil and no person will go from Pakistan to Afghanistan for any terrorist activities.

"We have launched operations against certain elements that are active on our side of the border. We are partners in the fight against terrorism as Pakistan is very much part of international coalition of this menace."
The President made it categorically clear that Pakistan would not accept any accusations and finger pointing and emphasized that Afghanistan should desist from leveling unsubstantiated charges.

"We have to fight extremism and terrorism as partners," the President said but cautioned against any interference from Afghanistan into Pakistan's internal affairs and said it must stop forthwith.

Referring to the Bombay blasts and Indian allegations, the President called for refraining from making unsubstantiated remarks against Pakistan.

President Musharraf said he himself, the people and the government of Pakistan strongly condemn this act of terrorism.

He said Pakistan is against terrorism and extremism as it has been a victim of this malaise and is engaged relentlessly in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

The President on behalf of the people of Pakistan expressed solidarity with the people of Mumbai over the tragic loss of life as a result of terrorist act and offered condolences to the bereaved families.

However, the President lamented the Indian attitude in the wake of the bomb blasts and said that any talk of postponement or stalling of peace process would tantamount to a victory for the terrorists.

He said the acts of terrorism were very much aimed at achieving the same objective of stalling the dialogue process between the two countries.

President Musharraf said that in his opinion even the Indian government would not like the terrorism to succeed in their designs.

"We are together in the fight against terrorism as Pakistan is part of the international coalition against this menace."
He said that leveling allegations, accusing each other and getting involved in a blame game is a first sign of defeat.

The President called for exercising caution before making any comment and restraint in leveling unsubstantiated allegations.

The President assured India of Pakistan's fullest cooperation if any information regarding the terrorists involved in blasts is shared with Islamabad.

He called upon the international community to act immediately to bring to an end the escalating conflict in Lebanon and resolve the problem through dialogue.

The President said the brazen Israeli attack against Lebanon has caused enormous death and destruction in the Middle Eastern country.

He said if Syria and Iran also get involved in the conflict it could also affect the entire region including Pakistan.

He stressed, "We will have to ensure our security and safeguard our integrity through forging complete unity among our ranks." President Musharraf said the Palestinian dispute lies at the core of the Middle Eastern crisis and urged the world community to help resolve the longstanding dispute in a just manner for the cause of the world peace.

2020/235/1420



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