Zardari optimistic on ties with US

June 10th, 2012 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 10 (IANS) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed confidence over his country’s relationship with the US, despite complaints from Washington about Islamabad “not doing enough” to counter terrorism.

“I think the US is an important country in the world and so is Pakistan. We have mutual interests,” Zardari told China Daily.

“Slowly but surely, we will get back to normal relations,” he said.

The remarks came after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in Kabul that Washington was “reaching the limits of patience” with Pakistan on the issue of militants’ safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border.

Panetta earlier said in New Delhi that the US will continue to battle militants in Pakistan’s tribal region despite complaints from Islamabad that the drone strikes violate its sovereignty.

According to analysts, Panetta’s statement shows the mistrust between the two close allies — US and Pakistan — in their war on terror.

Asked about his opinion on Panetta’s remarks, Zardari said: “I think sometimes politicians speak for political reasons. It is an election year in the US. Most of the comments coming from the US are based on their internal political condition.”

Pakistan has been blamed by many Western countries, including the US, for “not doing enough” to counter terrorism.

“Nobody understands the effects of the war on Pakistan. We have lost 40,000 people and … economic growth from terrorist attacks and activities,” said Zardari.

“We are victims of terror… It seems like Pakistan is abetting terrorists, but it is the wrong perception,” he said.

Zardari attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Beijing, in which Pakistan is an observer along with India, Iran and Afghanistan.

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