Posted by: Administrator | 3 March, 2007

President in Joint Press Conference UN World Summit

15 September 2005

Tony Blair and the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf held a bilateral meeting during the 2005 United Nations World Summit on how to deal with terrroism.

President Musharraf:

Let me make a statement. Thank you very much Mr Prime Minister for the remarks and comments. Let me reiterate that we had an excellent meeting, an excellent interaction between myself and the Prime Minister. We have total understanding on all issues.  We discussed bilateral, international and regional issues of concern to both our countries. We especially took stock of the issue of terrorism and extremism and we decided that there is a need for co-ordination and cooperation on this issue of fighting terrorism and extremism internationally and domestically in our respective countries. There is a total consonance of views on that also.

So therefore I look forward Mr Prime Minister to total cooperation on all international issues, on the most critical issue of terrorism and extremism, and also the resolution of political disputes around the world. 

Thank you very much.

Question:

Prime Minister, can I ask you, there is a view that the resolution you put to the Security Council today is something of a … your frustration that you couldn’t get broad agreement on terrorism in the original document?

Prime Minister:

No, I think the Security Council resolution is the important thing because it means that all UN countries act in accordance with it. I think though there is a tremendous sense of coming together on the issue of terrorism. I think the question is to make sure that we now act in accordance with the resolutions we are passing and so that we are attacking not just the terrorist methods, not just taking the action in respect of security measures, but also attacking the extremism, the fanaticism of the ideas of these people. And the contribution I made to the Security Council this morning reflected that, and I think it reflects the genuine consensus, not just in the Security Council but wider than that, that whatever issues there are about how you define this or define that, in fact the vast majority of people now know that this terrorism is evil, it is destructive and we have to wage battle against not just the actual act of terrorism, but the extremist teaching, the ideas, the fanaticism that breeds it. And I think the desire to do that is pretty common I would say.

Question:

Mr President, do you agree with what Prime Minister Blair has said in his description of terrorism in all its forms, do you agree with him?

How do you define fighting terrorism? And could you also please answer the question as to whether you met with Mr Sharon today or not?

Mr Musharraf:

OK, this is two questions in one. 

Question:

Inaudible.

Mr Musharraf:

OK, let me take the first part.  I believe we have to fight terrorism and we have to destroy terrorism and terrorism means the killing of civilians, the killing of innocent civilians. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the killing of innocent civilians, whether it is in Pakistan, or London, or Sharm el Sheikh is an act of terrorism.  Now without going into the semantics of the definitions, this is what is terrorism and we need to now, my thoughts on this I would like to give out for this august gathering.

We need to treat terrorism and extremism separately. Terrorism has to be dealt with through military force. We have to apply military force immediately and we have to cooperate internationally to deal with it, and international cooperation is in two areas as far as fighting terrorism is concerned. In the area of exchange of intelligence, in the area of exchange of intelligence on freezing or ceasing their underworld funding of terrorist organisations. This is what we are doing and we are co-operating. The other issue is extremism.  Now extremism I would like to give out what we understand and what we are doing in Pakistan to fight extremism. Extremism is a state of mind, it has to be dealt with through dealing with the hearts and minds, it is a hearts and minds issue.

We have adopted a six point strategy to deal with extremism. There is a short term strategy which involves three elements. Number one: the banned organisations in Pakistan, extremist organisations, will not be allowed to resurface, they will not be allowed to collect any funds and money from any organisations, from the public or from anywhere. The second element:  hate literature. Any hate literature, books, pamphlets, hand bills, the publishers, the writers, the distributors, will be moved against very strongly – this is the second element of the immediate strategy. The third element of immediate strategy:  any mosques, religious places, loudspeakers being mis-used to spread hatred, to spread militancy will be curbed. We will move against anybody who is doing such a mis-use of religious places – this is the third immediate strategy. Then there are three elements of our long-term strategy. Number one is the syllabus and curriculum in schools.  Unfortunately in the past our syllabus and curriculum has been restricted to rituals only. In many cases these ritualistic details create misunderstandings and I sanction within the various sects of Islam also.  So therefore we need to really modify the syllabus to teach the real values and essence of Islam to the students so that this element of unnecessary indoctrination and moving towards hatred and creating gulfs within Muslims or between religions is removed altogether.

This is the long term strategy. So we are undertaking a review of our syllabus and are going to change our curriculum and syllabus.  The second area of long term strategy is dealing with the madrassas. What we are doing with the madrassas is we have introduced a madrassa strategy where we want to mainstreams the … of the madrassas, we are asking them to teach all subjects, other than religion only, so that they can take normal board examinations. And therefore the children, who are the have nots of our society, are mainstreamed into life in the society, they can adopt other professions than just being religious personalities when they grow up. So that is the strategy on madrassas, and let me tell you we are making good progress where the main body which controls the madrassas – that is the … if you know – they are on board and we are dealing with them, I think they will come on board and this strategy will be implemented.

The last area, the sixth point, or the third point in the long term strategy, is to start an Islamic Muslim renaissance.  Now what I mean by that simply is that we had left the understanding of our religion to the semi-literate person who did not understand religion in its true essence. We need to take that off from him and teach religion, or project Islam in its true values and essence, not in its ritualistic sense, but in the sense of a person developing his own character and his responsibilities towards the society, towards his family, towards the nation. That is what we need to do when I said that we need to initiate an Islamic renaissance.  Let me tell you that real Islamic scholars from all over the world are prepared to come to Pakistan and initiate this process. We have moved a long way towards this.

So this is the overall strategy, to fight terrorism and extremism separately, in its short term and long term context. We are doing this very holistically in Pakistan.

Question:

To what extent has today’s Security Council resolution on incitement strengthened your hand, and if it has, do you still require new legislation in Pakistan to give you the legitimacy to step up your action against … failing or against preachers … who may be failing.

Mr Musharraf:

May I say that madrassas, these are domestic issues and no amount of

international laws and conventions will assist the domestic addressing of the issue. We are quite satisfied with whatever resolutions are being passed here, but it is the domestic environment and the domestic strategy which is much more important than the international strategy in dealing with madrassas. And let me assure you that what we are doing, what I have just enunciated, is certainly the root and the method of addressing it and I know we will succeed in the long run.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page8194

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