LAGOS: The former military ruler of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, said Friday extremism is on the rise in parts of his country with mujahedeen groups gaining more public support.
“Extremism is rising in certain pockets of society of Pakistan because of … religious militancy on both sides of Pakistan — east and west,” Musharraf said at a public lecture in Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos.
“There is mujahedeen activity in Kashmir and it has risen … and therefore all the mujahedeen groups in Pakistan have gotten more activated … all are gaining in public support and public sympathy in Pakistan,” he said, noting that it was becoming more difficult to control extremism.
Musharraf said the solution lies with India and Pakistan, the two South Asian rivals working “towards peace and in peace, we must resolve the Kashmir dispute because that lies at the core of terrorism and extremism within Pakistan.”
India and Pakistan claim ownership of the mountainous region of Kashmir and the territory has been the cause of two of the three wars the countries have fought since independence from Britain in 1947.
India has an estimated 500,000 troops in Kashmir, which is split into Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts. There has been a separatist insurgency in the Indian zone for 20 years.
India accuses Pakistan of failing to crack down sufficiently on militant groups that operate from bases on its territory, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which New Delhi blames for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives.
Musharraf, who spoke on democracy, security and political stability, said democracy should not be one-size fits-all concept.
“Democracy can’t have a standard format. It has to be tailored to the local environment,” he said. – AFP