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Musharraf expected to put off crucial speech for 2-3 days.

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 9 Kyodo

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is unlikely to make a crucial address envisaging dramatic measures against religious and sectarian extremism and monitoring the activities of the religious schools for at least three to four days, a senior government official said Wednesday.

''The address is not due in the next two days,'' Federal Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood told Kyodo News when asked when the general was to make his address.

The speech is expected to go directly to diffusing tensions between Pakistan and India.

A U.S. congressional delegation that met with Musharraf on Tuesday had said the Pakistani leader would announce ''some bold measures'' in an address that ''would elicit a response'' from the Indian government and reduce tension between the two countries.

Mahmood allowed Wednesday that measures to be announced by the president would be ''dramatic,'' including a law to regulate the functioning of religious schools, closing down their military wings and harmonizing their syllabuses.

Religious schools are known to have prepared a crop of dedicated and ideologically motivated Taliban in Afghanistan and counterparts in Pakistan spearheaded agitation against the U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan and Afghan policy in Pakistan.

''The religious schools will have no role but to impart Islamic teachings,'' Mahmood said while talking about a proposed law to monitor the registration and growth of religious schools.

The religious schools in Pakistan provided the bulk of the volunteers in several Pakistan-based groups taking part in the war in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jan 14, 2002
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