Posted by: Administrator | 4 October, 2006

‘Fight against Terror in Pakistan’s own Interest’ – President in Rome

30 September 2004, Rome

Fight against terror in Pakistan’s own interest: Musharraf

ROME, Sept 30: President General Pervez Musharraf Wednesday said Pakistan has not waged a fight against terror for others but in its own interest, both to flush out elements hurting the country and to bring about a societal change for sustainable socio-economic development. “Let me make it clear that this fight against terror is in our own interest because our first priority is Pakistan,” he told a gathering of Pakistani community living in Italy.

The President asserted that Pakistan has earned a new prestige for itself through its policies and progress and “now our point of view is heard all around, other countries seek our views and listen to what we say.” He said, “Gone is the time, when we were told to do something, whatever we do we do in Pakistan’s interest.”

The President said Pakistan’s recent economic turnaround is the result of honest intentions of its leadership and far-sighted policies. “Our resources are the same but we have made the most of them because we are honest in our intentions – and that has made the difference.”

Referring to the challenges being faced by the country in recent years, he said, all misperceptions, about happenings in Afghanistan, cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, nuclear proliferation – have been countered effectively and squarely and now the Government is focused on effecting a societal change. “We are giving voice to the moderate majority to suppress the extremist minority and Pakistanis everywhere in the world have to be pro-active in achieving this objective.”

The President said, “We have to cast off the negative image of Pakistan, which is contrary to ground realities and we have to correct misperceptions, which have assumed more importance than the ground realities, therefore, you have a duty to perform, counter the negative projections with both your conduct and arguments.” President Musharraf said the Government will not allow any extremist elements to have their way and has curbed their practices like distribution of pamphlets, recruitment of young people and misuse of religious institutions. “Nobody will be able to push others to extremism now,” he stated firmly.

The President also informed the members of Pakistani community about his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York last week, and said it is for the first time that New Delhi has accepted that the two South Asian countries have to resolve all outstanding issues – including Jammu and Kashmir dispute – harmoniously and peacefully. “We have to see options for resolution of Kashmir dispute and solve it in a manner acceptable to all.”

He said this kind of realization has never been witnessed in the 57-year old history of Pakistan-India relations. President Musharraf said Pakistan is a key member of the Muslim world, which looks up to Pakistan for a leading role. “We are already striving for bringing vibrancy to the Organization of Islamic Conference and have put forward the strategy of enlightened moderation both for socio-economic development of Muslim countries and establishment of lasting peace in the world,” he said amid loud cheers from the Pakistani community, which also passed a resolution earlier, requesting the President to stay in uniform.

In response to their urging, the President said he would take a decision vis a vis his office of Army Chief in the country’s interest. He asked the Pakistani expatriates to be united as outside the country they do not represent any political party or group but Pakistan. The President thanked the members of Pakistani community for their expression of wholehearted support for him. Responding to their demands, the President said he would examine and decide shortly about setting up a Pakistan consulate in Italian city of Milan and opening a branch of a Pakistani bank in Italy. He promised that the process of issuance of Computerized National Identity Cards for expatriates living in the European country would be made efficient.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Privatization Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister of State for Tourism Sumaira Malik were also present. Representing the Pakistani community, Ch Shabbir said the expatriates hold President’s policies in high esteem as they would steer the country to durable socio-economic

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