Pakistan fighting for survival but will not succumb: Zardari

April 7th, 2009 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, April 7 (IANS) Pakistan is “fighting for its survival” but will not “succumb” to the militants, President Asif Ali Zardari told top US officials here Tuesday.
“Pakistan is fighting a battle for its own survival,” a statement issued by the presidency quoted Zardari as saying at a meeting with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, and Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The president said the government would not succumb to any pressure by militants,” the statement added.

The talks covered regional security issues, the new Afghanistan strategy US President Barrack Obama unveiled late last month and the surge in militancy and extremism in the region, the statement said.

Mullen and Holbrooke will also hold talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi before leaving for New Delhi later Tuesday.

With the Pakistani Taliban threatening to carry out “two attacks a week in Pakistan”, Gilani Monday called a meeting of the chief ministers and police chiefs of the four provinces to mull a fresh strategy to counter the growing number of terror strikes in the country.

At least 24 people, including four children, were killed and 35 others injured Sunday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a Shia mosque in Punjab province.

On Saturday, six police personnel were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Frontier Corps (FC) checkpost near the crowded Jinnah Super Market in a high security area of Islamabad.

On March 30, heavily armed terrorists stormed into the Manawan police academy on the outskirts of Lahore and held over 400 trainees hostage for over eight hours before the security forces recaptured the complex.

Eight terrorists were killed and three were captured alive. Eight police trainees and two civilians were also killed.

On March 3, militants attacked a bus transporting the Sri Lankan cricket team to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the third day’s play in the second Test against Pakistan.

Six players and the team’s assistant coach were injured in the assault that saw the Sri Lankan government immediately calling off the tour and flying the team back home.

Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians lost their lives in the attack

As terror incidents spiral, a leading US think tank has noted that Pakistan “is a thriving sanctuary” for both Afghan and Al Qaeda militants operating in Afghanistan and that Washington needs to get Islamabad on board with its new Af-Pak strategy, though progress is nowhere near assured.

To give its strategy of negotiating with Afghan Taliban even a remote chance of success, “involvement in Pakistan is both a headache and a necessity for the United States”, global intelligence agency Stratfor said.

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