19 September 2006 Terrorism and extremism will continue to attract alienated Muslims until “the foreign occupation and suppression of Muslim peoples” are ended, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf told the United Nations General Assembly today.
In an address to the General Debate of the Assembly’s 61st session, Mr. Musharraf said that military interventions and old conflicts “have spawned a deep sense of desperation and injustice” across the Muslim world.
“Each new battleground involving an Islamic State has served as a new breeding ground for extremists and terrorists. Indiscriminate bombings, civilian casualties, torture, human rights abuses, racial slurs and discrimination only add to the challenge of defeating terrorism,” he said.
The Pakistani leader called for a two-pronged strategy of “enlightened moderation” so that terrorism is tackled head on while at the same time the international community strives to resolve conflicts in the Islamic world.
“We also need to bridge, through dialogue and understanding, the growing divide between the Islamic and Western worlds. In particular, it is imperative to end racial and religious discrimination against Muslims and to prohibit the defamation of Islam. It is most disappointing to see personalities of high standing oblivious of Muslim sensitivities at these critical moments.”
Turning to the long-standing conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Musharraf said “an acceptable solution” is now within reach, thanks largely to improved relations between Pakistan and its neighbour India.
He added that he expected his meeting last week with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Havana, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Summit, will help to promote the peace process in Kashmir.
First set up in 1949, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has monitored the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir since 1971. As of the end of July this year, there were 44 military observers and 66 civilian staff in the mission.