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    Pakistan to combat terrorism

    Pakistan to combat terrorism: Moin

    By Our Staff Reporter

    KARACHI, May 7: Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider has rejected the US allegation that Pakistan is tolerating or extending support to terrorist groups or sending mixed messages on terrorism.

    "Pakistan is against terrorism and trying hard to control it," he asserted, saying there might have been some lapses or negligence which could not be attributed as mixed signals. On the contrary, he said, it was the US which was sending mixed signals by attributing terrorism with Pakistan and saying it did not mean it.

    Gen Haider was responding to the speech by US Consul General John C. Bennett who had referred to the annual report of the State Department on "Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999" issued on May 1, 2000.

    The occasion was a seminar on "Civic Rights, Peace and Development" under the auspices of Pakistan Civic Forum. Besides the convener of the forum Begum Salma Ahmad, other speakers were Lt Gen (Retd) Asad Durrani and Chairman Social Marketing, Zafar Iqbal. Imran Aslam briefly introduced the subject of the seminar and Nawabzada Ashraf Liaquat Ali Khan gave the vote of thanks. The seminar was followed by a questions-answers session.

    Referring to the observations made by Mr Bennett, Gen Haider, the chief guest, called upon the US to adopt a clear policy and make up its mind keeping in view that "we are your allies and Pakistani soldiers played an important role in the peace-keeping UN force, earning commendation certificates from the UN and Western countries for their contribution in attaining global peace."

    He pointed out that the feelings of Muslims were exploited by the West, particularly US, by arming students after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet forces. Afterwards, the West turned its back on them, leaving them to suffer in the war-ravaged country where the infrastructure had collapsed. He said Afghanistan is now engaged in the worst kind of civil war.

    Pointing out that Afghanistan is listed as one of the five poorest countries in the world, he suggested the West, particularly the US, come forward to rebuild the Afghan infrastructure through NGOs to divert their attention from poppy cultivation and narcotics.

    He said: "We have eliminated all heroin factories from Pakistan by taking strict measures to get rid of the narcotics menace. We have confiscated assets worth 34 million dollars of those indulging in narcotics' trade and so far 19 million dollars had been deposited in the national exchequer."

    Drawing attention of the US Consul General, he recalled Pakistan had allocated Rs15 billion for its poverty alleviation programme, out of which Rs7 billion had been deducted from the defence budget while on the contrary India had increased its defence budget by 28 per cent which was equivalent to Pakistan's total defence budget.

    Referring to President Bill Clinton's recent visit to South Asia, Gen Haider pointed out that after Mr Clinton's visit to the region, India had started not only hurling threats at Pakistan but indulging in grave violence at the Line of Control.

    "Pakistan wants peace. We do not want to go to war. But if a war is thrust upon us, then will respond in a befitting manner. Still, it would be a tragedy," said Gen Haider.

    He said in Kashmir, 7 lakh Indian army personnel had been indulging in serious violations of human rights by unleashing a reign of terror.

    "Pakistan wants to hold talks with India. Gen Parvez Musharraf has repeatedly said that we want to hold dialogues, but with objectivity, in order to find a solution to the Kashmir issue," he added.

    Sarfraz Khan