Karachi, Sept. 17 (Reuters): President Pervez Musharraf vowed today to continue pursuing Islamic extremists sheltering in Pakistan, claiming a major victory with the arrest of a top suspect in the September 11 attacks.
Musharraf said the arrest of key al Qaida suspect Ramzi Bin al-Shaibah demonstrated Pakistan’s progress in the hunt for foreign Islamic militants.
Bin al-Shaibah has been handed over to US custody along with four other suspected members of al Qaida, the network blamed for last year’s attacks on the United States. Musharraf said al Qaida militants and other extremists had reached Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan.
“We have captured a number of them and seemingly broken down their network,” he told top bankers in Karachi. “They have to leave Pakistan. We will not allow them to use our soil.”
Bin al-Shaibah was arrested in Karachi on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks following a three-hour gunbattle with police in which two al Qaida suspects died.
Musharraf also vowed to crack down on local militant groups involved in attacks on foreign nationals. “We are not going to tolerate extremism in any form. The extremist threat will be met with full force,” Musharraf said.