India, Pakistan must continue peace process to foil terrorists: Zardari

December 9th, 2008 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Benazir BhuttoWashington, Dec 9 (IANS) Saying that he identifies with India’s pain and can feel it everytime he looks into his children’s eyes, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said the two great nations “born together from the same revolution” must continue the peace process in the face of the Mumbai terror siege.”The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated,” Zardari, who lost his wife and former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a terror attack, said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times Tuesday.

“Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root,” said the elected chief executive who came to power after nine years of military President Gen Pervez Musharaff’s rule.

“To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process,” Zardari said.

“Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India’s pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.”

“Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks,” he said cautioning “against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements.”

“As was demonstrated in Sunday’s raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers,” Zardari said.

“Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims,” he asserted asking Indians to “pause and take a breath” as “rage fuelled by the Mumbai attacks catches on”.

“India and Pakistan - and the rest of the world - must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September,” Zardari said.

Indirectly blaming the US for the creation of Taliban, he said: “The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower.

“The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic,” Zardari said.

Asserting that Pakistan was “on the frontlines of the war on terrorism”, he said: “The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge; Pakistan’s fledgling democracy needs help from the rest of the world.”

Describing terrorism as a regional as well as a global threat that needs to be battled collectively, Zardari said: “We understand the domestic political considerations in India in the aftermath of Mumbai. Nevertheless, accusations of complicity on Pakistan’s part only complicate the already complex situation.”

For India, Pakistan and the United States, the best response to the Mumbai carnage is to coordinate in counteracting the scourge of terrorism, he said and asked the world “to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and democracy”.

It should help Pakistan build civil society and provide it with the law enforcement and counter-terrorism capacities that will enable it to fight the terrorists effectively.

Recalling that Benazir Bhutto had once said that democracy is the best revenge against the abuses of dictatorship, Zardari said: “In the current environment, reconciliation and rapprochement is the best revenge against the dark forces that are trying to provoke a confrontation between Pakistan and India, and ultimately a clash of civilisations.”

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