'Pak should sever ties with Islamic groups'

According to the International Crisis Group, Govt's links with banned militant groups may threaten Pak's internal security.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 16:03 IST

Pakistan's military government should sever ties with banned Islamic militant groups as the move would reduce threats to the country's internal security and reassure India, a leading think tank has said.

The Pakistani government risks increasing threats to domestic and regional security if it insists on dominating post-earthquake reconstruction efforts, undermines civilian participation and allows banned jihadi groups to continue to wield influence, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

President Pervez Musharraf severing his ties with banned jihadi groups and excluding them from earthquake relief and reconstruction would also empower moderate Pakistani voices and reassure India, it added.

"Turning a blind eye again to Musharraf's links to the jihadis would further embolden radical forces that are capitalising on years of military rule," the ICG said.

The group finds that the military government has sought to use earthquake rescue and relief, and now intends to use reconstruction and rehabilitation, to demonstrate its competence.

While it eventually provided important logistical support to care givers, the ICG said, the military's ineffective initial response to the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and Northwest Frontier Province cost many lives.

Musharraf's government sidelined civilian structures in the earthquake areas, and its strategic priorities were translated into support for the relief role of Islamist organisations, even banned jihadi groups, who are operating under new names, Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group's South Asia Project Director said.

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 12:40 IST