Musharraf Tells Pakistan, Islam Is Not the Target

Article excerpt

Pakistan's president General Pervez Musharraf told his nation yesterday that the US decision to hunt down suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden does not target Islam or the people of Afghanistan.

He also said the US has not completed its operational plan for a proposed attack on Afghanistan and details of Pakistan's co-operation are still being discussed.

'Nowhere have the words Islam or the Afghan nation been mentioned,' in talks between Pakistan and the US about co-operating in efforts to beat terrorism, said Musharraf, dressed in military uniform and speaking in his native Urdu. The speech was a bid to reassure an Islamic nation reacting with anger and fear over the government's decision to co-operate in a proposed US attack on Afghanistan.

Musharraf said last week's deadly terrorist attacks and Pakistan's decision to help find and prosecute the perpetrators have put his country in its worst crisis since its last war with neighbouring India in 1971.

'Our decision today will impact on our future,' said Musharraf, punctuating his speech with quotes from the Koran.

He said the US wants Pakistan's help on intelligence gathering and logistics, as well as permission to use its airspace. …