My popularity proves Pakistan not extremist: Musharraf
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: “The vast majority (in Pakistan) is moderate,” Musharraf told ABC News in an exclusive interview, “… the US must understand that the vast majority here is moderate. If they were extremists, I wouldn’t be popular here.”
Osama Bin Laden is probably still alive, President General Pervez Musharraf told the channel. “But if Bin Laden is in Pakistan, foreign agents will not be allowed in to capture him,” he told the channel. Responding to a recent statement by CIA chief Porter Goss that the United States had an “excellent idea” where Bin Laden was, but would have a difficult time bringing him to justice because of sovereignty issues, Musharraf said that he would not let other countries into Pakistan, if Bin Laden was indeed there.
Asked whether Pakistan would turn Bin Laden over to the United States if he were found in Pakistan, Musharraf said that he would “have to see what happens”. “We hope he’s found in Afghanistan by the Americans,” he said, adding later, “… I would much prefer that somebody else handled him.”
He said that Pakistani intelligence agents were working closely with their American counterparts. “Our intelligence is very well coordinated,” he said. Musharraf insisted that he was cracking down on extremism in Pakistan. Hundreds of arrests have been made in Pakistan in the last few days, following the bombings on London’s transport system. He, however, noted that the London bombers were Britons.
“The problem is not in Pakistan, but in England,” Musharraf said. “Their hatred has been spread in London and nobody has moved against them. So why are they blaming Pakistan?” He said England had been slow to react to the extremism growing within its own borders, including not acting upon a fatwah which had been issued against him. “What did England do about this (fatwah)?” he asked.
“Have they banned these organisations? Have they arrested the person who passed it? No, nothing. Nothing. In the name of human rights, in the name of liberty, human liberty, freedom of speech, this is going on. So why blame us? Please set your own house in order. Everyone has to do something.”
Musharraf said there was “no credible intelligence” tying the London bombers to Pakistan, despite reports that three of the four suspects had spent time there.