Musharraf Appeals To Stop Terror

In this picture released by the Press Information Department, Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf addresses the nation on Pakistan Television, Thursday, July 21, 2005 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Musharraf vowed to fight religious extremism, and said militants like those who carried out the London bombings were defaming Islam. Portrait of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah seen on left.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf appealed to Pakistanis Thursday to fight extremists at home, while officials said they were seeking the former aide of a radical cleric in Britain in connection with the July 7 London bombings.

In a nationally televised address, Musharraf admitted that Pakistan had a "problem" with militants, amid international concern that Islamic schools in his country are promoting extremism. But he said Pakistan should not be labeled as lax in the war on terror simply because three suspected suicide bombers were of Pakistani origin, and had visited Pakistan in 2004.

"We certainly have a problem here which we are trying to address. England has a problem also," Musharraf said, citing Hizbul Tahreer and Al-Muhajaroon, two Britain-based extremist groups that are banned in Pakistan.

"There is a lot to be done by Pakistan, internally here in Pakistan," said Musharraf, who strongly condemned the July 7 attacks that killed 56 people, including the four bombers, and wounded 700 others. "May I suggest there is a lot to be done in England also."

"The correct strategy to deal with this is to encourage and support each other rather speaking against each other and weakening the overall cause," he said.

The president's hour-long, evening address was taped before four explosions shook London's capital once again on Thursday. Bombs exploded in three underground subway stations and on a bus in the British capital, reportedly injuring one person.

"Please rise and wage jihad against extremism," Musharraf said, invoking the term for holy war that is often used by militants. He made similar pledges after al Qaeda's attacks in the United States in 2001, and despite hundreds of arrests since then, analysts believe Pakistan is concerned that heavy-handed tactics could alienate many in this Muslim nation.