Extremists and terrorists keeping India, Pak apart: Musharraf

Pakistan`s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said that extremists and terrorists are keeping India and Pakistan apart because they do not want peace between the two neighbouring countries.

Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 23:48 PM IST

Houston: Pakistan`s former military ruler
Pervez Musharraf has said that extremists and terrorists are
keeping India and Pakistan apart because they do not want
peace between the two neighbouring countries.

"Extremists and terrorists are fuelling dissent
because they do not want peace between the two countries,"
Musharraf said, pointing out that India and Pakistan have been
on a confrontation course for 60 years.

"Punishing Pakistan with counter attacks are
irresponsible and war will be inevitable. We must stop the
hysteria and leaders on both sides must continue with cogent
dialogue," said Musharraf, who came into power in a bloodless
military coup in 1999 and led Pakistan for nearly nine years
until he resigned under impeachment pressure in 2008.

Pakistan`s former president observed that in India,
extremism among Muslim youth is on the rise and developing
excessively.

"We need to adopt a holistic approach and neutralize
the situation without breaking links with Indian Muslims," he
said while speaking at the Asia Society`s Texas Centre.

Addressing the thorny issue of Afghanistan and the
Taliban, the former military strongman said that after 9/11,
Pakistan was criticized for not doing enough in the war
against terrorism.

"The misconception is that Pakistan is the problem.
They may be coming into Pakistan, they have sanctuaries in
Pakistan, but most are in Afghanistan," he said.

"Negative handling of Afghanistan began long before,
in 1979 when the Soviets invaded and the world ignored the
plight of 4 million refugees in that region. Now we cannot
afford to quit before bringing a legitimate stable government
to Afghanistan, or it will cost the world heavily," he said.

Musharraf said the acceptance of Taliban by the global
community could have prevented the nine-year long war in
Afghanistan and also have saved Bamiyan Buddha statues.

"I always proposed that we need to have a different
strategy. We need to recognise the Taliban and try to change
them from within," he said.

"Had we had 18 missions there, including the US
mission, with the Taliban I think we could have saved the
Buddha statues," said Musharraf, who was here to gain some
financial support for his newly launched political party.

"I do need financial support, and I would ask the
American Pakistani diaspora to support me... because I see
darkness in Pakistan," Musharraf said. "Because I don`t see a
political party or a leader in Pakistan to be able to tackle
the problems that Pakistan is facing."

"Those that love Pakistan, we cannot let go because we
will become international orphans and lose our identity. Only
progress and development will ensure the wellbeing of my
people of Pakistan," he said.

PTI