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Pak, UK to cooperate in fight against terror

Musharraf has spelt out a six-point strategy to curb extremism.

world Updated: Sep 15, 2005 22:05 IST

President Pervez Musharraf has spelt out a holistic six-point strategy to curb extremism as Pakistan and Britain pledged to cooperate in the fight against terror.

"While we can deal with terrorism with force, we must deal with extremism through a long-term strategy as it pertains to affecting hearts and mids," Musharraf told reporters here on Wednesday after an hour-long meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Illustrating the short-term steps, he said his government has enforced a stern check on resurfacing of banned extremist groups under any new name; put a firm ban on printing and distribution of hate literature; and disallowed misuse of mosque loudspeakers for fanning discord, Pakistan's official APP news agency reported.

Musharraf said the government is hopeful of introducing modern science subjects in religious schools so that the graduating students may join the mainstream of national life.

In the long-term, he said among other things the government has launched efforts for streamlining the education system of madrassas and is resolved to support an Islamic rennaisance to project real understanding of Islam.

Replying to a question, Musharraf said killing of innocent civilians is an act of terrorism.

The international community should cooperate in fighting terrorism, especially in the area of intelligence sharing and freezing underground funding of terrorist organisations.

Blair said UK and Pakistan have expressed their resolve to cooperate in fighting terror.

"We will continue to cooperate in the fight against terrorism," the British Prime Minister said.

A joint statement issued after the Musharraf-Blair talks said that Pakistan and Britain, noting the importance of the strategic ties between them, agreed to enhance their "close cooperation" in countering extremism and terrorism.

It said Blair highlighted the steps taken by the British government since the July seven bombings in London, emphasising the UK remains a "tolerant society in which the Pakistani-origin community plays an important part."

"The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the international community must work through the UN to agree to a definition of terrorist acts, and work collectively to find a common response to the threats of terrorism and extremism.

"They agreed on the need to combat social, economic and political exclusion in societies as well as to work towards cultural and religious tolerance," the statement said.