Musharraf warns on terrorism after bomb kills 14

 

"The president strongly condemned the dastardly act and said Pakistan is being subjected to a sytematic campaign of killing for its bold and courageous stand against international terrorism," said an official statement released after Mr Musharraf met his security and intelligence advisers.

"The president termed this a conspiracy against the country and the nation (as well as a conspiracy to) create a wedge between Pakistan and France."

Eleven French nationals and three Pakistanis were killed when a man, believed to be Pakistani, rammed a car loaded with high explosives into their minibus outside the Sheraton Hotel just before 8 a.m. (3 a.m. Irish time).

The Europeans were working with a state-owned French company to help the Pakistani navy build submarines at the southern port of Karachi.

During the emergency security meeting Mr Musharraf said the "sole purpose of the enemies of Pakistan is to disrupt its economic recovery," the statement said.

"By this act of terrorism against the French citizens who were involved in a defence related project the terrorists have clearly tried to weaken the defence of the country.

"He said the government shall move very strongly and a number of administrative and security actions have been initiated which will come into force at once."

Mr Musharaff's support for the United States-led military campaign against terrorism has sparked intense anger among hardline Muslims in Pakistan and is believed to be the major cause behind the recent surge in violence.

The military campaign has led to the fall of the hardline Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan and the presence of US troops in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, where they are helping Pakistani forces hunt down al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists.

AFP