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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Report: Army in Pakistan encouraging religious extremism

Brussels, April 18, IRNA
ICG-Pakistan-Report
Far from restraining religious extremism, the military government has actively encouraged it, co-opting the religious right to bolster its legitimacy and relying on it to counter democratic opposition, claims a a report released by a Brussels-based think-tank Monday.

'The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan' published by the International Crisis Group, examines President Pervez Musharraf's policies of what the report claims to be 'Islamization and marginalization of secular democratic forces, and the atmosphere of religious intolerance they generate'.

"While Musharraf is internationally praised for his role in the war against terrorism, a widespread and well-organized terror infrastructure persists in Pakistan, jihadi media are flourishing, and madrasas provide endless streams of new recruits," said the ICG report.

"The choice that Pakistan faces is not between the military and the mullahs, as is widely believed in the West," says Samina Ahmed, ICG's South Asia project director in Islamabad.

"It is between genuine democracy and the military-mullah alliance that is responsible for producing and sustaining religious extremism."
The political use of Islam by the state promotes an aggressive sectarian competition for official recognition and support between the many variations of Sunni and Shia Islam, it said.

The report suggests that regulating madrasas, reforming the public education sector, invoking constitutional restrictions against private armies and hate speech, and removing all laws and state policies of religious discrimination are essential and overdue steps to stem the tide of religious extremism.

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::IRNA No.069 18/04/2005 18:07 --End



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