- Mar 24, 2009
Pakistan created and nurtured terrorists, admits Zardari - Pakistan - World - The Times of IndiaISLAMABAD: For the first time, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has admitted that militants and extremists were "created and nurtured" in the country as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives.
But they began to haunt the country in the post-9/11 era, Zardari said in a candid admission during an interactive meeting with former senior civil servants at the presidency last night.
Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they "were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives," he said.
"Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities," Zardari said.
"The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well," he added.
Labelling Pakistan as a frontline state in the war against terrorism, Zardari pledged to eliminate this scourge from society. "I have taken charge at a difficult time and will come up to the challenges the country is facing."
His remarks came days after his comments in an interview that the Pakistan Army would even target militants it had backed in the past for use as a proxy force against India.
The army is currently engaged in a campaign against the Taliban in the northwestern Swat valley and is gearing up for a push against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud and his network in South Waziristan tribal region.
Zardari also stressed the need for greater national reconciliation, saying he intended to keep all political forces together because Pakistan cannot afford confrontation at this juncture.
"Dialogue is our most powerful weapon...we defeated a dictator through the power of dialogue and we intend to continue holding dialogue to resolve various issues confronting Pakistan," he said.
"We are on the brink and we must realise that personal political games can no longer be played," he added.
Responding to various suggestions by the former civil servants, Zardari said the government is taking several steps to improve governance, tackle militancy and extremism, improve law and order, agricultural output and power generation, strengthen institutions and devolve power.