War no solution, Pakistan too plagued by terrorism: Zardari (Lead)

December 27th, 2008 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Benazir BhuttoIslamabad, Dec 27 (IANS) In an apparent bid to reduce tensions with India, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said the “cancer” of terrorism was plaguing his country too but cautioned New Delhi against dictating terms.Zardari admitted his country did have “non-state actors” - a term he had used to describe the 10 terrorists who ravaged India’s financial capital Mumbai last month.

“We have issues? Yes, we have issues. We have non-state actors? Yes, we have non-state actors,” he said, speaking at Nau Dero in Sindh province at an event to mark the first anniversary of his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.

A day after Pakistan moved its thousands of troops from its border with Afghanistan to the one with India, the president warned the international community that terrorists were forcing their agenda on Islamabad and New Delhi.

“Please do not fall a victim (to them), because you will be the victim, we will be the victim, the region will be the victim,” he said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman said his country too was a victim of terrorism.

“We accept we have a cancer. We will cure it, we will solve it, we will correct it. We shall do it because we need it, not because you want it. Allow us the freedom of democracy, allow us the freedom of choice,” he said.

Referring to the US and India as the oldest and largest democracies respectively, Zardari said: “I want to tell the oldest democracy and the largest democracy of the world… listen to us, learn from us. We have experiences to share with you. We have lost our people… We do not talk about war, we do not talk about vengeance.”

Ruling out war as the solution to the problems of the South Asian region, he said dialogue was the key to solve all issues.

“Dialogue is the biggest arsenal… The solution to the problem of the region… is politics, is dialogue and is democracy in Pakistan, because democracy is part of the cure and not part of the problem.”

Zardari said he was happy that the US was thinking afresh that South Asian problems needed “a regional cure for cancer”.

The comments were intended to tone down the rising war hysterial of the last few days in the wake of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strike, which left over 170 people including 26 foreigners dead.

India says the attacks were orchestrated and executed by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and accuses Islamabad of not doing enough to rein in such terrorist groups - a claim Pakistan denies.

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