Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet has said that incidents like the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl highlighted the challenges Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf faced from Islamic extremists.
"President Musharraf's intention to establish a moderate, tolerant Islamic State -- as outlined in his landmark January 12 speech -- is being welcomed by most Pakistanis, but he will still have to confront major vested interests," Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The speech had 'energised' debate across the Muslim world about which vision of Islam was the right one for the future of the Islamic community, he said.
September 11 and the US response to it were the most profound external events for Pakistan since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and US action at that time, he said.
The Musharraf government's alignment with the US -- and its abandonment of nearly a decade of support for the Taliban -- represent a fundamental political shift with inherent political risks because of militant Islamic and anti-American sentiments that exist within Pakistan, Tenet said.
"Musharraf established a clear and forceful distinction between a narrow, intolerant and conflict-ridden vision of the past and an inclusive, tolerant and peace-oriented vision of the future," he said.
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