|Wednesday, 4 September 2002|
Pakistan wants no part in attack on Iraq-Musharraf
ISLAMABAD, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terror, said on Monday Pakistan did not want to get involved in any attack on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"We wouldn't like to get involved. I don't think Pakistan would like to get involved in this at all," Musharraf told Cable News Network in an interview.
Musharraf said Pakistan already had its hands full internally and regionally and had no geographical affinity with Iraq. "We wouldn't want to get involved in anywhere outside," he said.
Musharraf said a U.S. war against Saddam Hussein would have an adverse affect on the Islamic world and he did not feel there was full support for such action in the European Union or from other big powers such as Russia and China.
Asked why removing Saddam would be negative for the Islamic world, he replied: "It is not a question of removing Saddam Hussein. It's the question of attacking a country, attacking another Muslim country.
"At the moment all the political disputes, all military actions, all the casualties and sufferings are by the Muslims around the world...so another action against...a Muslim country will certainly have its impact."
Musharraf has incensed Muslim radicals in Pakistan by siding with Washington in its overthrow of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan last year following the September 11 attacks on the United States.
He said the policy change had been a good thing, even if it had led to a rise in attacks by extremist groups inside Pakistan. "I am very sure of its positive effects in the long run," he said. "Because we are matching them head on, we are taking them on head on."
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