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Pakistani president seeks popular support in combating terrorism, cross-border insurgency

Pakistani president seeks popular support in combating terrorism, cross-border insurgency

Pakistan's president has called for popular support in combating terrorism and stopping foreign militants from using the country for recruiting Muslim suicide bombers to carry out attacks across the globe, state-run television reported Sunday.
Meeting criticism that his government is doing too little to stop Taliban and al-Qaida guerrillas from crossing the border into Afghanistan and other countries, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said that foreign militants from as far as Uzbekistan, Yemen and Libya are being trained in Pakistan for terrorist attacks.
"The suicide attacks are happening in the entire world and are happening in Pakistan," Musharraf said Saturday at a gathering of hundreds of people in Dera Ismail Khan, a city in the conservative North West Frontier Province neighboring Afghanistan, according to Pakistan TV.
"These foreign people are sitting (here), they are giving money, they are recruiting people to carry out" the attacks, he said at the gathering of mostly Musharraf loyalists in the tribal region where Pakistani security forces have battled foreign militants in recent years.
"You should show solidarity and point them out so that we can deal with them," Musharraf said.
Afghan and Western officials say that militants increasingly cross the border to launch attacks against Afghan and U.S.-led troops operating in the country. Violence rose sharply in Afghanistan in 2006, killing an estimated 4,000 people, making it the deadliest year since the U.S.-led coalition swept the Taliban from power in 2001.
Musharraf became a close U.S. ally in the war against terrorism after he severed his country's support for the Taliban militia in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S.
Meanwhile on Sunday, about 8,000 people rallied in Khar, the capital of the northwestern Bajur tribal area, demanding that the government call off a by-election for a seat in the national parliament.
Sahibzada Haroon Rashid, a lawmaker from Jamaat-e-Islami _ Pakistan's largest Islamic group _ has resigned to protest a military raid on an Islamic school in which 80 people died on Oct. 30.
Musharraf has said that suicide bombers trained at the school. But, the regional tribesmen have disputed the official account, saying that civilians, including children studying at the facility, died in the airstrike. The by-election is scheduled for Jan. 10.
"Our grief is continuing," Rashid told the rally. "It is not the time for us to sit in the parliament."
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Associated Press reporter Habibullah Khan in Khar, Bajur, contributed to this report.