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Pervez prods Blair

Islamabad, July 21: Pakistan has a problem, so does Britain, President Pervez Musharraf told his country and Tony Blair in a televised address a few hours after the fresh blasts in London.

He also relaunched a “jihad” against extremism and announced several regulatory measures, including a vow to disallow banned militant groups from reorganising under new names.

“We certainly have a problem, which we are trying to address very strongly. And may I suggest there is a lot to be done in England also,” Musharraf said. “I would like to send a message to Prime Minister Tony Blair that we strongly condemn the July 7 acts of terrorism.”

“We should stand together in fighting terrorism instead of indulging in a blame game,” the President said, referring to suggestions of the London bombers’ “Pakistani connection”.

Three bombers were of Pakistani origin but born in Britain and a fourth suspect was a Jamaican.

“If the aspersion on Pakistan is that the alleged bombers were indoctrinated when they came to Pakistan, where had the Jamaican gone (for indoctrination)'” he asked.

Addressing concerns abroad, the President repeated his call to Pakistanis to join a jihad against preachers of hatred. “I urge you, my nation, to stand up and wage a jihad against extremism.”

Musharraf said all madarsas would have to register with authorities by December. Banned militant groups will not be allowed to take new names or raise funds in the name of jihad.

Possession of unauthorised arms would be prohibited and action taken against distribution of hate literature.

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