Foreign, domestic leaders hail Zardaris election as Pakistan President

September 7th, 2008 - 11:59 am ICT by ANI  

Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad, Sept.7 (ANI): Foreign and domestic leaders have hailed the election of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, as the president of Pakistan.
Zardari secured 281 of the 426 parliamentary votes and won a thumping majority in three of the four provincial assemblies.
The United States was among the first countries to congratulate Zardari.
In a statement, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: President (George W) Bush looks forward to working with him (Zardari), Prime Minister Gilani, and the Government of Pakistan on issues important to both countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is currently on a visit to North Africa, also welcomed Zardaris election. She praised his emphasis on fighting terrorism.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai described Zardaris victory in the presidential election as a step in the right direction, and hoped ties between Kabul and Islamabad would take a turn for the better.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have a difficult relationship because of militant unrest, with Afghans saying much of the violence inside the country stems from rebel sanctuaries in Pakistan, an allegation Islamabad rejects.
In London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband vowed to work closely with President-elect Zardari to promote stability and fight the “shared threat of violent extremism” in Pakistan.
Miliband said that he looked “forward to working closely with Zardari to further deepen the partnership with Pakistan”.
“We want to work with the government to support measures that promote stability, democracy and the rule of law and strengthen the democratic transition,” he added.
“The United Kingdom stands ready to assist the government in combating the shared threat of extremism and meeting the economic challenges they face. And we remain strongly committed to our partnership with the Pakistanis, notably through our aid programme, the Daily Times quoted Miliband as saying further.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he hoped ties with Pakistan would expand.
“I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations for your deserving election as president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to you, your government and nation,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad, as saying.
“Voicing complete readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to expand co-operation with Pakistan in all fields, I hope we witness the expansion and strengthening of good relations between the two countries,” he added.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif described Zardaris election as the defeat of dictatorship.
In a statement reported on ARY TV, Sharif said that Zardaris victory was the success of the democratic process in the country.
He hoped that Zardari would represent the federation and rise above his political affiliation. He also hoped that the PPP-led government would steer Pakistan out of economic crisis and other challenges, including extremism and terrorism.
Self-exiled Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain said that the elected members confidence in Zardari was a good omen for Pakistan, and hoped the president-elect would use his expertise for the progress and well being of Pakistan and its people.
The Awami National Party, however, said that Zardari has to deal with two uphill tasks — insurgency and the Balochistan problem.
[These] are the two cardinal issues and Pakistans economic and political stability cannot be maintained without overcoming them, said Zahid Khan, the ANPs central leader.
Innocent people fall victims to the insurgents, terrorists and fanatics. How to deal with it is the question that needs to be answered at the earliest, he added.
Dearness, unemployment and poverty cannot be overcome without establishing peace. There will be no commercial activities and investment if a bad law and order situation prevails, he said.
In Washington, news reports said that Zardari would face, namely militancy, the economy, democracy, India and his own personal safety.
One foreign news agency said that Zardari will have to respond to Western pressure to crack down on Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan, motivate donors to top up the countrys foreign currency reserves and prevent a run on the rupee, deal with demands to release Dr AQ Khan, face pressures to resign as co-chair of the Pakistan Peoples Party and restore the parliaments powers and continue the peace process with India. (ANI)

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