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Musharraf Delivers Key Speech on Curbing Terrorism

Aired January 12, 2002 - 11:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf delivered a nationwide address today, a speech deemed crucial to neighboring India, and to the United States.

CNN's Tom Mintier has been monitoring President Musharraf's address in Islamabad.

Hi, Tom.

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra.

It was well over an hour that the speech lasted. It covered a wide variety of topics, but it has one strong, very salient message.

It was to the religious community in Pakistan, those who run the religious schools, the so-called Madrassas, and operate the mosques, saying that these two locations can no longer be used to preach hate, saying that if there is to be a jihad, it does not need to be a military jihad, but one to deal with illiteracy and poverty in Pakistan.

Again, saying that the Madrassas and the mosques will indeed be regulated by the government, a very strong message to come out of the leader of Pakistan. As one analyst told me, he said "no political leader would dare to do this."

He also outlawed all of the militant groups that were operating out of Pakistan, saying that there is no room in society.

Now, there has been a roundup in the last 24 hours of more than 250 Islamic extremists here in Pakistan, and the closure of many of these organizations. The president, once again, reiterated his position that Pakistan will not stand for terrorism or terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: Pakistan rejects and condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for any terrorist activity anywhere in the world.

Now you must play an active role in solving the Kashmir dispute for the sake of lasting peace and harmony in the region. We should be under no illusions that the legitimate demands of the people of Kashmir can ever be suppressed without their just resolution. Kashmiris also expect that you ask India to bring an end to state terrorism and human rights violations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MINTIER: That call by the Pakistani president on not just the United States, but the United Nations to play a more active role in setting up a dialog for solving the problems with Kashmir, saying that U.N. peacekeepers may need to come to Kashmir and be on the ground to make sure that peace is maintained.

Now he did also send a message to India about the list of 20 suspected terrorists that India has provided to Pakistan, saying that no Pakistanis will be extradited to India, that if indeed there is evidence, they will be tried here.

Just how well this speech will go down in New Delhi is hard to say. But U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will be visiting the region next week, and he'll be visiting both New Delhi and Islamabad -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well Tom, on that note of New Delhi, we're going to talk about that right now. Thank you so much, Tom Mintier.

Now for some reaction to President Musharraf's speech in neighboring India, CNN's Maria Ressa is live from New Delhi -- Maria.

MARIA RESSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, initial reactions are not good. Mr. Musharraf is known as a wily fox here in India, and his speech shows exactly why that is. In effect, he did give two concessions which will win him praise in the international community, as Tom said.

Those are banning religious extremism in Pakistan; and he specifically banned two groups, the Lashkar-i-Taiba and the Jaish-i- Muhammad. These are two groups India claims are responsible for the December 13 attack on India's Parliament.

However, as Tom said, he did not give India's demand for the extradition of 20 men India claims are responsible for acts of criminal and terrorist acts here in India. And, in addition to that, he also threw the ball into India's court by linking all of this with the issue of Kashmir as you heard.

Earlier on, India had said that this is a fight against terrorism, and that Mr. Musharraf has tried to confuse the issue by bringing in Kashmir. And even worse in terms of India's perspective is third-party intervention in Kashmir. As you know, this is a 55- year-old story between India and Pakistan. India claims Kashmir is rightfully India, within Indian territory, and Pakistan has long supported the fight for the struggle of Kashmir, what Pakistan calls a freedom fight, the freedom fight in Kashmir.

So as far as India's concerned, it has everything to lose and the initial reaction we've gotten is that we shouldn't expect tensions to ease any time soon. Kyra. PHILLIPS: So Maria, what's next for India?

RESSA: Well there are several things. The Indian officials have told us that the first reaction if India is not pleased with Mr. Musharraf's speech is going to be diplomatic. India does not want war. At the same time, however, it has pulled out its weapon of last resort, the threat of war, and if that threat is perceived -- if the country is perceived as not willing to use that, then it becomes an empty threat and the country becomes powerless. This is what Indian officials have said. So after a diplomatic response, then we can expect more tensions on that border. Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Maria Ressa, live from New Delhi, thank you so much.

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