from hindustan times. Islamic alliance warns of civil war if Musharraf helps US against Afghan Taliban Amir Zia (AP) Rawalpindi(Pakistan), September 19 A powerful alliance of Islamic parties warned Pakistan's president on Wednesday that cooperation with the United States in its hunt for Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden could plunge the country into civil war. "Pakistan army will be the target of public wrath and hatred if the military-led government allows American troops in the country to attack our Islamic neighbour," said Maulana Samiul Haq, leader of the Afghan Defense Council. The council, which is a collection of 35 Pakistani religious and militant organisations, was established several months ago to support Afghanistan's Taliban, following United Nations economic sanctions imposed last January to press an earlier US demand for the extradition of bin Laden. The United States also wants bin Laden in connection with the 1998 twin bombings of two US Embassies in East Africa. "The arrival of American soldiers in Pakistan could destabilize the country and plunge it into a civil war like Algeria," he said. The warning came as President Gen Pervez Musharraf won praise from the United States for his promise of "unconditional" support in the fight against terrorism following the devastating attacks of September 11 in New York and Washington . The alliance also called a nationwide strike and rallies on Friday, the Islamic sabbath. "We will continue our protests until the government changes its decision," Haq told reporters. "And if our Afghan brethren announces jihad (holy war) against America, we would also be forced to announce jihad," he said. Islamic and militant parties, many of whom are heavily armed, have already held several demonstrations in major Pakistani cities. On Wednesday, police arrested several people for staging an anti-US demonstration. Many radical Islamic parties are staunch supporters of the Taliban and want to enforce a Taliban-like harsh version ofIslam in Pakistan. The religious groups have large followings in the country's conservative northwest frontier and southwestern Baluchistan province, which are on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Oct 02 2001 - 00:00:05 EDT