WASHINGTON: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that democracy is the only cure to challenge the scourge of terrorism and vowed to work with his Afghan counterpart to fight this menace. Speaking in a trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said, “Pakistani democracy will deliver, and the terrorists will be defeated by our joint struggle.”He termed terrorism a cancer against which Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US will stand shoulder to shoulder. “This is a cancer which needs to be done away with,” he added.
While in interview to CNN President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the United States to provide drone technology and other necessary equipment to help Pakistan fight terrorists more effectively and rejected the notion of American personnel joining the anti-terror fight on the Pakistani soil. “I need drones to be part of my arsenal. I need that facility. I need that equipment. I need that to be my police arrangement,” Zardari told CNN, ahead of his bilateral talks with the U.S. President Barack Obama and a tripartite summit engaging Afghanistan also Wednesday.
The Pakistani leader said the request has already been made to the Obama Administration. “We’re still in dialogue. They haven’t disagreed, but they haven’t agreed,’ the President added.“I will request this from the United States to give it a thought that if we own them, then we take out our targets rather than somebody else coming and doing it for us,’ Zardari emphasized.
“I’m open to the fact that we need more equipment, we need more intelligence equipment, we need intelligence support, but not personnel. I don’t think personnel are necessary, they’ll be counterproductive,’ he said, when asked if he would be willing to welcome US forces in Pakistan.
President Zardari said that the violent insurgency in Pakistan’s northwestern areas near the Afghan border does not pose a threat to his government.“They’re not threats to my government. They are threats to my security. They are a threat to … my Army, my police, yes.” Zardari said of Taliban militants’ recent gains.
“My government is not going to fall when one mountain is taken by one group or the other,” the Pakistani leader added.
When asked about the possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling in the hands of militants, Zardari stressed: “They are in safe hands.” “We have a 700,000 (troop) army—how can they take over?” Responding to another question, he said he wants peace with India and hopes for new dialogue after India completes its national elections.”Democracies have never gone to war,” Zardari said.
“We have always wanted peace. We still want peace with India,” he said. “I’m waiting for the elections (in India) to be over so all this rhetoric is over and I can start a fresh dialogue with the Indian government.” “I’m looking at the markets of India for the industrialists of Pakistan and hoping to do the same (for the other side),” Zardari said.-APP