Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Fears for Pakistan

The Sunday Telegraph - July 24th 2005

Sir

Con Coughlin's otherwise excellent article "Our safety is in the hands of Pakistan'' (Comment, July 17) misses a key point that President Pervez Musharraf is perhaps not actually prepared to go the whole way and apprehend Osama Bin Laden or Mullah Omar. If al-Qaeda were actually defeated in Pakistan then the US, no longer needing Pakistan as a key ally in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, would probably abandon Pakistan with its known sympathies for jihadis and religious fundamentalism in favour of Pakistan's giant secular democratic neighbour India which offers huge economic markets. Furthermore, Musharraf has allegedly done a deal with the fundamentalist parties in control of two regional assemblies to go easy in the pursuit of terrorist fugitives in their areas in exchange for tolerance of his military regime.

The British Government should not neglect the rising danger of fundamentalism in Bangladesh where its traditional secular democracy is under threat with thousands of madrassas preaching extremist Deobandi-style hatred of the West.

Dr Charles Tannock MEP

Brussels