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Pakistan upgrades curbing jihadi groups to national security objective

 KARACHI, December 25 (Internews): Pakistan has made a formal decision  not to let any jihadi group to operate from anywhere in the country,  official sources said here Tuesday.
 "We have decided to ensure complete compliance on the ban on raining
 funds, collecting donations and recruiting volunteers for jihad by any
 group in Pakistan," an official of the Ministry of Interior said.
 "This policy has been upgraded to a national security objective," he
 To meet this objective, senior security officials will increase contacts
 with the leaders of jihadi outfits with a view to convincing them that
 their public activities are not in the security interest of Pakistan.
 "The government is against a deadly head-on confrontation with a very
 emotional community," an official familiar with recent discussions on
 the subject said. "Without much arm twisting the government and
 religious leaders are trying to reach at a common platform."
 The resolve to counter activities of extremist groups has strengthened
 in recent days after reports that renegade bands associated with a
 jihadi organisation were active outside Kashmir in India to stage
 terrorist actions with an aim at increasing Indo-Pak tension so that
 Pervez Musharraf is forced to go slow on jihadi groups.
 A series of measures aimed at eliminating the activities of all jihadi
 groups have been discussed at a meeting held under Chairman Joint Chiefs
 of Staff Committee Gen Aziz Khan this week.
 The meeting was called to make key strategic recommendations to
 President Musharraf on the present geo-political situation in the region
 with a particular reference to unusual Indian troops build-up along the
 international borders.
 The meeting discussed threadbare the fallout of any confrontation
 between the government agencies and the extremist groups, particularly
 in the backdrop of the publicised Indian demands regarding
 Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
 US President George Bush had joined the Indian accusations against Jaish
 and Lashkar by asking Musharraf last week to take action against both,
 which were also included in the US list of terrorist organisations last
 Another Pakistan-related jihadi group, Harkatul Mujahideen, was added to the list of terrorist organisations by the US authorities in October
 after it was discovered sending its fighters to Afghanistan to join
 al-Qaeda and Taliban warriors.
 Official sources say that any determination of the military government
 to root out jihadi outfits from Pakistan may only have superficial
 success at most since groups likely to be targeted have already changed
 their names and decentralised their operations into various secret
 underground cells.
 While Musharraf attempts to deal decisively with the religious extremist
 groups at home, his government is going the extra mile to impress upon
 the international community that Pakistani authorities have no role in
 the alleged activities of some Pakistani groups in Indian cities.
 "If Americans, French and British can join al-Qaeda, no one should be
 surprised to see some Pakistanis confronting Indians," a Pakistani
 official remarked. "It doesn't mean that our government have sent them
 to bomb places in India," he added. -Internews


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