Zardari courageous enough to tread path on which politicians of old mould fear to walk: Kuldip Nayya

October 11th, 2008 - 4:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto

Lahore , Oct 11 (ANI): A veteran Indian journalist has said that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has found praise among the Indians over the past few months, especially after he pronounced that ties between the two countries should not be held ”hostage” to the Kashmir issue. He followed New Delhi s stance which had all along been saying this, said the journalist.

Kuldip Nayyar, the noted Indian journalist and an ex-parliamentarian, said that before this Indians never took Zardari seriously, and only knew him as either Benazir Bhuttos husband or Mr Ten Per Cent because of the corruption charges he faced during Benazirs stint as premier.

Nayyar also hailed Zardaris statement whereby he called Kashmiri militants and terrorists. He said that Kashmiri militants are the terrorists. I do not understand the furore over the remark. He has not given away Kashmir , nor has he withdrawn the claim on the state. All that he has done is to describe todays militants as terrorists who, by no stretch of the imagination, are freedom fighters, the title that Gen Pervez Musharraf gave them, the Dawn quoted the Indian journo as saying.

He added: Since Zardaris point of view did not fit into Islamabad s policy which mindset bureaucrats, crusty politicians and the army top brass devised and pursued, he was denounced. Islamabad interpreted his statement differently and reiterated the same old policy. Even Pakistan s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, whom I met in Islamabad subsequently, rationalised that Zardari did not mean what was being presumed.

Zardari now has expressed similar thought in a more explicit way. He seems to have stirred up a hornets nest of opposition on the Kashmir issue, said Nayyar.

He opined that if this definition was accepted, the entire argument of fighting against the Taliban falls flat. They too are up in arms to free people from the modern way of thinking and living because it, according to them, defiles Islamic behaviour. (The Taliban have burnt down 125 girls schools in the territory under them). Who are the militants except those who were first trained and armed by Gen Ziaul Haq to bleed India and then sustained by Gen Pervez Musharraf till 9/11 when the entire scene changed drastically?

I am a bit disappointed by the criticism coming from the Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif. He knows better because he saw through the game when he flew to Washington to retrieve the honour of his armed forces after the debacle at Kargil. They are the same terrorists who indulged in bomb blasts in Lahore , Bhakkar or elsewhere. They are the ones who burnt the Marriott in Islamabad . If Nawaz Sharif were to analyse the situation dispassionately, he would come to the same conclusion as Zardari has. Political considerations should not cloud Nawaz Sharifs judgment, added the Indian journalist. (ANI)

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