In his historic and widely applauded address to the nation, President Musharraf has announced several sweeping measures to curb extremism in Pakistan and has specifically asked political organisations to desist from getting embroiled in the Kashmir issue. His decision to monitor activities in mosques and madrasas and not to tolerate any terrorist activities on Pakistani soil, under the pretext of Jihad, has been hailed as courageous, far-sighted and decisive by leaders across the globe.
"The measures announced will certainly help in easing tension in the region, and it's a definitive positive sign," President Bush was quoted as saying.
Source: Gulf Today 14 Jan 2002
Do you feel President Musharraf will succeed in de-escalating the almost war like situation between the two neighbouring countries? Will he succeed in curbing terrorist factions within Pakistan? What about the Kashmir issue? He has said "we will continue to support the just freedom struggle of Kashmiris politically, diplomatically and morally." How will he seperate militant activitiy from legitimate political struggle? And what about tackling internal, domestic opposition from those who feel he is going soft on the Kashmir issue?
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Yes, this speech will definitely have good results. It will reduce cross-border tension and might even solve the Kashmir issue in the long run. Both countries should solve this dispute for the sake of their people.
President Musharraf is in a fix. He cannot possibly justify the attack on the Indian Parliament without putting himself in the same league as say Saddam Hussain. The glare of global media is too strong for him to backtrack and adopt a stance which contradicts his lofty claims of Pakistan not sponsoring terrorism, and of his government going all out to support the US in its 'war against terror'. He has to look decisive about his anti-terror campaign and his speech was quite a brilliant exercise in oratory. But how far he means to actually do something about curbing state sponsored terrorism, remains to be seen. He has made it clear that Pakistan's support for the Kashmir movement is as strong as ever, albeit, only through diplomatic and politically acceptable channels. Terrorists groups will probably lie low for a couple of months and then resurface once the US and the developed world get caught up in the next global crisis.
President Musharraf has an uphill task ahead of him. If he succeeds and lives to tell the tale, he should be awarded the Nobel prize for peace. He was very unambiguous in his condemnation of extremism and fundamentalism - something the Home Minister of India and a known hardliner, Advani , has acknowledged. Personally, I am not very hopeful. Fundamentalism and
intolerance are too deep-rooted and concerted efforts are needed to tackle
the issue. Pakistani leaders have perfected the art of doing a U-turn with
legislations of previous regimes - eg; the complete rejection by Musharraf
of the Pakistan's Taliban policy (of which he himself was an active
advocate) and the rejection of the Shimla and Lahore accords. In the absence
of basic respect for the constitutional institutions, a long-term policy of
putting down fundamentalism will not succeed. So the message to Musharraf
is - go back to the barracks and concentrate on just one job - that of Chief
of Army Staff and stop interfering in democratically elected governments.
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