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Musharraf: Religious organizations incite people to wage holy war

By Sheraz Khurram Khan, Special Correspondent for ASSIST News Service in Pakistan

3/21/07 Pakistan (ANS) – Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has said the hardliner religious organizations incite people to wage Jihad (holy war).

“They turn them into suicide bombers. They take them across the world for waging Jihad”, said Musharraf while talking to a private TV channel GEO’s program entitled, Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath (Today with Kamran Khan) on March 19.

It merits mentioning here that Pakistan Chief Justice, Justice Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry was suspended on March 9, Friday on charges of abuse of office.

When the anchor of the program asked him if hearing of the missing peoples’ case by the Chief Justice led to his suspension the President categorically dismissed the notion.

The President said he had watched several videotapes wherein the suicide bombers were shown telling that they were doing this voluntarily.

In September 2006, human rights organization Amnesty International, accused Pakistan of detaining hundreds of alleged terror suspects without legal process.

“Those who talk of human rights should understand our government and our environment”, said Musharraf implying to the hardliner religious elements, who he said were misleading people.

The President said he received a letter from a Pakistani man after his school going-son went missing. Musharraf said that the worried father had sought government’s help in recovery of his son.

By the Grace of God we were able to track him down, claimed Musharraf. He said the findings revealed that the man’s son had quit his parents for joining a religious organization. The President, however, stopped short from naming the organization the school-goer had joined.

After he had stated the incident of the missing child found “serving” a religious organization Musharraf said the issue of all missing people should be seen in this context.

The president said that that the act of inciting people for Jihad was giving rise to a grave social evil.

“I have asked people to help stop this practice in every speech of mine”, said Musharraf.

Our Correspondent adds:

The hard-line Islamists have opposed tooth and nail every move that Musharraf thought would help curb intolerance in the country.

Ranging from inclusion of the Religion Column in new Machine Readable Passports to his bid for blasphemy charges be first investigated by a high-ranking police official, to reformation of Madressahs (Islamic Religious Schools), the radical Islamists put up stiff opposition to each of them.