Posted by: Administrator | 21 September, 2006

Islamic ‘terrorism’ hurting Muslim World, Azerbaijan

10 July 2004, BAKU, Azerbaijan

Islamic “terrorism” is holding the Muslim world hostage, President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday on a visit to the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. But the West must also change its attitude to the Islamic world and in particular persuade Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory if global terrorism is to be defeated, the president said.

President Musharraf made the remarks in a wide-ranging speech about the challenges facing the Islamic world during his state visit to Azerbaijan. “Unfortunately the Islamic world is faced with many problems. It is as if the Islamic world is facing a storm,” the president told a special session of the Azeri parliament or Milli Majlis. “It is also unfortunate that terrorism does harm to Muslim countries… The tactics they use, terrorism, car bombs, executions and other dirty methods, damage our great religion.

Today they are holding our societies hostage,” President Musharraf said. “They must understand that they cannot solve the problems of the Islamic world this way…I call on them to return to the true path.”

 But he said the West, and particularly the United States, had to assist the Islamic world in stamping out terrorism. Western nations could do this by helping Islamic countries develop their economies. The West should also help resolve a series of conflicts in which Muslim communities have found their territory under occupation, the president said.

President Musharraf listed Pakistan’s dispute with India over Kashmir, Azerbaijan’s lingering conflict with its neighbour Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno Karabakh and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. “The Palestinian problem must be resolved in a just way,” the president said. “Israel must accept reality and return to the framework of its 1967 borders.” “If we are able to put this into practise, the world will be able to root out extremism, militarism and terrorism,”

President Musharraf added. “If the status quo remains, that will not lead to the resolution of these problems.” Speaking on the second day of his visit to Azerbaijan, President Musharraf also told the Azeri lawmakers that Pakistan was pursuing the policy of enlightened moderation and stressed that other Muslim countries may also follow this.

The president also announced his country’s unwavering support for Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno Karabakh in Turkish language for which he received a prolonged applause from the deputies. Earlier, President Musharraf was accompanied to the Azeri parliament by Majlis Chairman Murtuz Aleskerov who in his welcome remarks praised the growing friendship between the two countries, saying that Pakistan was the first country to recognise Azerbaijan and on June 9, 1992, diplomatic relations were established.

Meanwhile, Elmar Mammadyarov and Safar Abiyov, respectively foreign minister and defence minister of Azerbaijan, separately called on President Pervez Musharraf on Friday. During their meeting, President Musharraf and Mammadyarov expressed deep satisfaction over the growing positive momentum in the friendly relations between the two Islamic countries. They were also determined to further deepen and broaden the existing ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The Azeri defence minister discussed with the president the possibilities of further enhancing cooperation in the field of security.

Separately, President Musharraf attended a luncheon hosted in his honour by the Azerbaijan Prime Minister, Artur Raisizadeh, on Friday afternoon. First Lady Begum Sehba Musharraf and members of the president’s entourage also attended the luncheon. Informal discussion on matters of mutual interest also took place between the president and the Azeri premier. Later, President Musharraf visited the martyrs graveyard in Baku. He laid a wreath at the grave of late Haider Aliyov, the founder president of Azerbaijan.

The president also visited the “Alley” of martyrs where he also laid a floral wreath on the monument constructed in the memory of those who had laid down their lives in the independence war and the conflict with Armenia on Nagorno Karabagh. In his impressions in the visitors book, the president said he had the honour to pay homage to the martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for freedom and independence of Azerbaijan. He said their epic struggle and enduring legacy was a beacon of hope not only for the people of Azerbaijan but also for the freedom-loving people all over the world.

Later Friday, Musharraf is due to attend a concert in his honour at the State Philharmonic Hall. Musharraf and his entourage are scheduled to leave Azerbaijan on Saturday morning.

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