The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shariat shadow on image

Islamabad, June 11 (PTI): Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said attempts to impose strict Islamic laws by the Opposition Muttahida Majlis Amal alliance in the North-West Frontier Province damaged the country’s image abroad and could cast a shadow on his forthcoming visits to the US, the UK, France and Germany.

“I am proceeding to the US, the UK, France and Germany, where I shall try to present the true picture of Islam. But an extremist approach would wash away all the projects and goodwill Pakistan has won abroad,” he said while inaugurating the Japanese-built road tunnel at Kohat in NWFP yesterday.

Without directly referring to the ruling MMA and its efforts to bring in Taliban-style, Shariat law in the NWFP, Musharraf said such an attempt could also reinforce the view abroad that Pakistan was an extremist society, harbouring terrorists.

“We are dubbed an intolerant and extremist society because of the unwarranted approach of some elements, which further cements the impression that Pakistan harbours terrorism,” he said in a speech at the function attended by among others the chief minister of NWFP and MMA leader Akram Durani.

Musharraf was also critical of the MMA’s decision to make the veil compulsory for women and its efforts to introduce an Islamic dress code for men. “What do we want to convey outside Pakistan through such measures' These are non-issues as far as governance is concerned. Be tolerant and don’t force others to obey,” he said.

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