Zardari to brief US on Pakistan’s views on terrorism

April 27th, 2009 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Islamabad, April 27 (IANS) President Asif Ali Zardari is to brief the US leadership next month on Pakistan’s views on militancy and extremism, and on what Islamabad needs for this.
The president was speaking at a meeting of parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, APP reported.

According to Zardari, the government possessed the will to fight militancy, but there were some areas where capabilities needed to be strengthened, an area in which the international community could play a major role.

Zardari will be visiting the US for a trilateral conference also involving Afghanistan for taking forward President Barack Obama’s new Af-Pak strategy for the region.

Referring to the Swat peace deal, the president attempted to distance himself from it, saying it had been signed by the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and a Taliban linked radical cleric.

Thus, it needed to be placed in the correct perspective before the international community, Zardari maintained.

The NWFP government and cleric Sufi Mohammad had inked the peace accord Feb 16 for imposing Sharia laws in Swat and six other districts of the province that are collectively known as the Malakand division in return for the Taliban laying down their arms.

Facing with the growing international clamour against the accord, which was seen as bowing to the Taliban, said he would ratify it only after parliament approved it.

That happened April 13, Zardari acceded to it the same night and the accord came into force two days later.

The Taliban, however, did not live up to their end of the bargain and last week moved south from their Swat headquarters and took control of the Buner district that is just 100 km from Islamabad.

Sufi Mohammad persuaded the Taliban to retreat and they did so but the Pakistani security forces Sunday went into action against the militants in the Lower Dir district to the west of Swat.

This prompted the Taliban to suspend the Swat accord and warn of action in the entire Malakand division if the security operation was not called off.

Buner and Lower Dir are also part of the Malakand division.

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