Can curb extremism but need support: Zardari

May 8th, 2009 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Washington, May 8 (IANS) Pakistan is “up to” the task of rooting out the menace of terrorism with the help of sustained international support, President Asif Ali Zardari has said.
“I can assure the world on behalf of the people of Pakistan that we are up to the task. Just help us,” APP quoted him as saying Thursday at a dinner hosted in his honour by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.

“Get us the capability and we can defeat the common enemy for a better tomorrow for our children and the coming generations,” he added.

Zardari had spoken in similar vein earlier Thursday, pointing out that a military operation against the Taliban in Pakistan’s northwest announced by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad “will go on till the situation returns to normal”.

The dinner was attended by a number of high-profile US administration officials and lawmakers.

Zardari lauded the trilateral consultations hosted by US President Barack Obama, saying such meetings would help plug the missing link of coordination in the war against terror along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“How differently were we facing the situation (in the past) when the three major partners were not even coordinating. So the first step has been taken.

“At least we are coordinating from now. It took us 10 years to get to this basic element that united we stand and divide we all fall. But better late than never,” he maintained.

According to Zardari, terrorism had inflicted huge suffering on the Pakistani people and exacted a high economic cost. Democracy was the cure to the problems besetting the region, he contended.

“It is a regional problem. It is not an Afghan-initiated problem. It is not a Pakistan-specific problem. It’s a new war, the war of the 21st century.”

Zardari pointed out that his slain wife, former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had warned then US President George Bush (senior) in 1989 that “we had all created a monster and it will come back to bite us”.

“It bit us all economically. It bit me personally. It has bit Pakistan. It has bit a lot of people personally. A lot of people have felt this pain.

“Can we defeat this menace? Yes. Let me assure all, together we can but individually I cannot. It is not an easy job to do,” Zardari maintained.

Pointing to the need for development, the president said: “Pakistan needs to stand on its feet in order to make sure that our children are not misguided out of hopelessness.”

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