Pakistan needs to plan for when the US leaves: Zardari

Published: October 2, 2011
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Says at time when Pakistan is facing a natural disaster, the US is also battering the nation instead of helping. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Says at time when Pakistan is facing a natural disaster, the US is also battering the nation instead of helping. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Pakistan’s chief concern is positioning itself for the endgame in Afghanistan and regional stability after the US completes its withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014, wrote President Asif Ali Zardari in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Friday.

“Whoever comes or goes, it is our coming generation that will face the firestorm,” he wrote. “We have to live in the neighbourhood. So why is it unreasonable for us to be concerned about the immediate and long-term situation of our Western border?”

The president attempted to push back against US pressure to act against the Haqqani network and believed that it was “time for the rhetoric to cool and for serious dialogue between allies to resume”.

The president believed that terrorists had gained the most from the “recent verbal assaults some in America had made against Pakistan” – a strategy he believed was counterproductive to the two countries’ larger goals of defeating terrorism, extremism and fanaticism.

“The sooner we stop shooting verbal arrows at each other and coordinate our resources against the advancing flag of fanaticism, the sooner we can restore stability to the land for which so much of humanity continues to sacrifice,” Zardari wrote.

He further stated in the op-ed that recent statements by the US against Pakistan couldn’t have been more ‘ill-timed’ as the country was being ravaged by floods. “We find that, instead of a dialogue with our closest strategic ally, we are spoken to instead of being heard … We are being battered by nature and by our friends.”

Acknowledging Pakistan’s ‘geopolitical location’ as the future battleground of ideologies from the Middle East to South Asia, the president believed that in the ongoing battle between extremism and modernism, the latter “must win”.

The president went on to clarify that his vision was not one premised on the politics of victimhood, rather it pivoted on Pakistan’s full ownership of the war against extremism and terrorism, adding that Pakistan did so even though they lacked the resources to match their commitment.

In an apparent dig at the US, the president wrote that he believed that the US had “compromised its fundamental values to accommodate a dictator (Prevez Musharraf) in Pakistan”.

Showing signs of frustration and of being treated as a second-grade coalition partner with the US, the president felt it was unfair to expect so much out of Pakistan as a nation.

“How long can we degrade our capacity by fighting an enemy that the might of the Nato global coalition has failed to eliminate?

“The war is being fought in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, yet Washington has invested almost nothing on our side of the border and hundreds of billions of dollars on the other side,” he lamented.

However, the president ended on a rather uplifting message about the resolve of Pakistanis, saying “we are a tenacious people” and “would recover every inch of our territory with or without the US.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Diggvijay Singh
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:07PM

    US allegations affecting Pakistan’s fight against terrorism

    I don’t like Mr. Zardari much but on this occasion he is spot on. Which country can do more for our peace? It is time the world realized that Pakistan has been doing more than enough and we need to repay its debts by extending an arm of friendship, cooperation and love. General Kayani has valid concerns about the security and sovereignty of his nation. The United States should not be allowed to destabilize this great nation of 180 million people. Recommend

  • vasan
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:15PM

    Sick of reading the 30000 dead pakistanis again and again. When will the establishment stop making a political capital out of this sad holocaust. When will the establishment realiase that most of the 30000 were murdered by terrorist attacks within Pakistan by the alphabetic soup of terror outfits roaming the length and breadth of pakistan. When will Pak take action on these terror groups so that 30000 does not become 60000. The arguement that the exit of US will halt this holocause does not sell. Blood thirsty monsters, once taste the blood, will not stop. They have to be exterminated, hook, line and sinker., No other solutions.

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  • buttjee
    Oct 1, 2011 - 3:15PM

    @vasan:
    I am sick of hearing day in and day out about 9/11. Whatever was to happen has happened. God bless those who got killed in twin towers by sheer hard luck. As the life goes on why not to forget about 9/11? Is there any justification for any country, may it be a super power to invade another sovereign country only because there has been an act of terrorism on your soil. If at all the US aim was to kill the Al-Qaeda leadership then raids like Abbottabad raid on OBL could have been conducted to kill or capture their leaders instead of killing thousands of innocent Afghanis and Pakistanis. Before the US invasion of Afghanistan there was no terrorism in Pakistan. No one in Pakistan had ever heard of suicide bombings. US presence in Afghanistan is the root cause of bloodshed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After fighting against the so called terrorists for ten long years at a very heavy cost in men and material, can any one claim that the US is anywhere near the end of terrorism. US of late has started to ponder on the old dictum that “AFGHANISTAN IS A GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES” . The US wants an exit from Afghanistan but for face saving exit from Afghanistan they have to talk to the Taliban and for this purpose they have been working on this route through various channels. On the other hand they are pressurizing Pakistan to fight against Pakistan. Now the consensus in Pakistan is that instead of fighting with the terrorists we should fight against the causes of terrorism.

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  • Mohammad naeem
    Oct 1, 2011 - 4:17PM

    This approach of mr president prove him a visionary and that he is more capable to lead than all other pakistani politicians.

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  • Dr. Saifurrehman
    Oct 1, 2011 - 4:46PM

    President zardari is the only leader in Pakistan, who has always defended Pakistan’s point of view on terrorism. While other political parties leaders have remained silent over this issue. Some right wing parties and parties like PML-N, PTI, JI and others made the matter from bad to worse. One has to appreciate zardari that since he took his office he has been asking U.S for trade not aid, it shows that zardari is looking for brighter future of people of Pakistan. And PML-N, PTI, JI and others either rejected aid or asked for showers of aid packages. They never talked about trade with U.S, it shows their self-centric thought. current spate of confrontation between Pakistan and U.S is also in the favor of these parties made the matter from bad to worse.Recommend

  • Oct 1, 2011 - 5:05PM

    We all acknowledge the sacrifices made by people of Pakistan. 30000 people have sacrificed and it is quite significant that they have supported America in all shades. I wonder why America forgets that there is a difference in support and dancing to the tune of the friend.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 1, 2011 - 5:34PM

    @vasan…dear Mr. keyboard warrior. After all this bravado and talk of extermination I suggest you put your latte on the table buy a ticket to Pakistan and enlist so that you can help in exterminating these terrorists. Spouting venom through your keyboard just makes you into one of the many trolls that hang out on the comment pages of ET.

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  • H.A. Khan
    Oct 1, 2011 - 6:03PM

    While all political parties were discussing the issue of National Security, the President was meeting Tennis shoe wearing cricketer Shoib Malik and Sania Mirza.

    What can one say….

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 1, 2011 - 7:43PM

    Dear Mr President.
    Who are these militants and this TTP. They are the veritable arm of US. Their soldiers have refused to fight in Afghanistan. They want the battle be shifted to Pakistan. US is exporting terror from Afghanistan to Pakistan. How can their be peace in Afghanistan once 62% Pashtuns are sidelined. Tell US to fight the war and we will fight ours.

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  • Cautious
    Oct 1, 2011 - 8:00PM

    What fight? Can anyone name a single major military campaign that Pakistan is currently engaged in? Over the last 10 years how many major military campaigns has Pakistan launched? One – and that was done because the Taliban were on the edge of Islamabad and the World was considering the consequences of the Taliban controlling nukes.

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  • Ahmad
    Oct 1, 2011 - 8:20PM

    No comments.

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  • Cautious
    Oct 1, 2011 - 9:12PM

    @Vinod “We all acknowledge the sacrifices made by people of Pakistan. 30000 people have sacrificed and it is quite significant that they have supported America”
    .
    Dawn reports that as of 2011 36,706 people have died in this conflict with 3.840 military,. 11.185 civilians, and 21,680 militants/insurgents. The entire World has sympathy for the military and civilians casualties — but few have any sympathy for the militant/insurgents even if they are Pakistani. Even though the militants maybe Pakistani’s I find their inclusion in the casualty number inappropriate.

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  • buttjee
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:34PM

    @H.A. Khan:
    My friend you do not know the details. When the APC was in progress the President was meeting the Indo-Pak sports couple and Mr. Farhatullah Babar was writing this article. Do you find any problem with that.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:48PM

    The President said.
    “When Pakistan seeks support, we look for trade that will make us sustainable, not aid that will bind us in transactional ties”.

    Mr President trade of what. Do we have electricity? The only thing left for trade is our blood. That has also gone cheap in the world. What are you talking? The life of common man has gone miserable. Better save your precious resource (Pakistani People), they are vulnerable to all the odds. Peace and stability will hit Pakistan only when there is justice for all.Mere rhetoric does not work any more here. And so does trade and aid. Please take care of your nation. Allah be with Pakistan,

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  • Jack
    Oct 2, 2011 - 1:14AM

    Retired Admiral Mullen was the last friend of Pakistan. Next Army chief will not be as friendly as retired General. So Pakistan has a problem on hand.

    Pakistan decided to bite the hand that feeds the nation. Having got 70 billions in aid from “Great Satan” USA, Pakistanis thought that they will not be caught for their double game. Unfortunately Pakistan was caught with hands in cookie jar.

    Pakistanis thought that because USA needs them for transporting supplied to Afganistan, geographical advantage, they can walk away with “murder”. USA was NOT unjustified in expecting Pakistan to help US in catching Osama Bin Laden. But when it was revealed that Osama Bin Laden lived garison town, the game was up.

    Again when Haqqani network attaked US base in Afganistan, it bcame unbearable for Admirral. Question was asked in USA why this aid is being givento Pakistan which was killing Americans.

    Istead, Pakistan Army chose to start accusing USA of encroaching Pakistan’s Sovereignty. Worse, Pakistan failed to change the narrative in the debate in USA. So Pakistan remains isolated. Americans have more patience but they are no fools.Recommend

  • Dual
    Oct 2, 2011 - 4:39AM

    @vasan:

    ‘…Sick of reading the 30000 dead pakistanis again and again….’

    If you are sick of such news, please stay away from Pakistan News related websites. No one, sir, is dumping such news on you – you are volunteering for it.

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  • Freeman
    Oct 2, 2011 - 5:15AM

    @vasan: Pakistan hater you will never understand this. If these were Indians then you would have never said a word tired. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    These people who killed are sponsored by the indian SPY AGENCY RAW AND ISRAEL MOSSAD. India is supplying them money and weapons against Pakistan in Afghanistan.

    This so called War on Terror gave a huge benefit of india.

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  • vasan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:08AM

    Maulana Diesel : I guess you havent learnt whose responsibility is what. Learn a lesson from our tiny neighbour Srilanka. How the Prez Rajapakse crushed the terror monster LTTE with covert support from India and others.

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  • Bangladeshi
    Oct 2, 2011 - 12:59PM

    @vasan: I wouldn’t have commented on this article since it doesn’t concern my country but since you raised the issue of tamil tigers i had no other choice. Do you indians live in some kind of bizzare alternate universe? It is a well known fact that the tamil gerilla was a veritable arm of RAW & this also gave you indians the excuse of intefering in srilanka by sending troops. We all know what happened after that, you guys got pounded by the monsters you created and your PM rajib ghandi got killed. Prez Rajapakse got unconditional backing from china & pak to eliminate the monsters you created. Don’t try to twist facts & distort history.

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  • antanu
    Oct 2, 2011 - 1:47PM

    @vasan:
    Why Mr.Vasan….you claim to be an Indian with high moral standards and still could not fathom what it means to to lose 30000 innocent people, leaving behind 30000 bereaving families? Is it so that your bias has made you a monster…I am sorry but you can be anything but not a human.

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  • antanu
    Oct 2, 2011 - 1:52PM

    @vasan:

    You are wrong Mr.Vasan again…in fight against LTTE India refused to supply arms to SL Army and at that time Pakistan came forward with whatever they have.Your info is absolutely wrong.LTTE was a creation of Ibdia.Why…dont the Southern Indian states still support LTTE?

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  • Taimoor
    Oct 2, 2011 - 4:31PM

    Well written Mr President !

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  • Freeman
    Oct 2, 2011 - 4:37PM

    @Jack: Totally wrong. American government has declined to verify Admiral Mullen comments. Mullen is retired and before he retired Mullen was frustrated and felt helpless and lost his mind. Now American people asked him that we wasted Trillion of dollars in Afghanistan what are the results? did we win? he could not answer as he knew American failed in Afghanistan. He thought to save himself it is good idea to make Pakistan easy and soft target as in American Media and Government officials already created environment where people came in influence and started to hate Muslim and Pakistan. So Mullen knew it is simple and easier way to get away from American people Questions.

    American theory is lie as much as we could and then repeat that lie again and again and at the end people will start believing them.

    Haqqani Network is not in Pakistan they are in Afghanistan’s 7 provinces fighting with American. in last couple of days America caught Haqqani Commander from Afghanistan that clearly shows they are in Afghanistan not in Pakistan.

    America is the only country which violate international laws more than any other country. America only have now deadly and weapons of mass destruction but they do not have a money. Economic balance is tilting towards Asia now.

    American’s keep wasting money on un-winable war even they need that money to spend on their home on the American poor people. According to reports over 50 Million Americans are now without health insurance.

    Pakistani’s have more patience than any other country in the world. With this American war on terror Pakistan lost more than 35,000 and 3500 army officials.

    Pakistan have American puppet government and also is very corrupt govt. they are keep doing what American says to them. People of Pakistan are not in favor of So called this war on Terror. People of Pakistan want peace.Recommend

  • let there be peace
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:15PM

    @Bangladeshi:

    LTTE was just one phase in Sri Lankan civil war which is now over.
    Do you have any idea what the Sri Lankan Tamil-Sinhala issue is about?
    Do you understand difference between civil war and terrorism?
    Do you have any idea which section is oppressor which one victim in Sri Lankan civil war?

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  • Raj
    Oct 3, 2011 - 9:05AM

    Please analyse this report of DAWN…

    As of 2011 36,706 people have died in this conflict with 3,840 military,. 11,185 civilians, and 21,680 militants/insurgents.

    3,840 military personnel and 11,185 innocent civilians would not have sacrificed their lives if 21,680 would have studied the religion of peace in its totality. Being from Amritsar, prosperous Pakistan is better for my home town than someone who lives deep down south in India. Pakistanis like Indians deserve the same right to better education, better housing, clean water and safe future.

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  • vasan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Freeman : Sorry, my friend, I am no pakistani hater. It is extremely sad to see the demise of any one due to terrorism, And u keep reading about it day in and day out with the govt doing nothing, one does feel sick about it , sick not due to death of the innocent public and children but due to the inaction of the govt.
    My hate is towards the govt and establishment who have done nothing against these terrorists, not a single fellow convicted and punished, not any charge sheet laid etc,. All ur govt does is strike the deals with these monsters who anyway dont keep up their end of the bargain. They buy time to recoup and come back and haunt u. That is why I am sick of it.

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  • vasan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Antanu : I did mention covert support by India to LTTE. India did support LTTE in the eighties and paid a heavy price during the IPKF times which ended up in Rajiv’s murder. No denying of these facts. India is not a holy cow, and neither I claim it to be. But we do learn from our mistakes. That is why subsequently India kept away from LTTE. India did support Srilankan govt in many ways in eliminating the LTTE including providing lots of intelligence about LTTE, the naval blackade during the last days of the war so that the leadership of LTTE do not run away etc. It is helping the Srilankan govt now in laying the railway lines to the north. Recently India donated lots of computers to the schools of Srilanka,

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  • narayana murthy
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:12PM

    @Bangladeshi who says “Do you indians live in some kind of bizzare alternate universe? It is a well known fact that the tamil gerilla was a veritable arm of RAW & this also gave you indians the excuse of intefering in srilanka by sending troops.”

    Do you live in some kind of bizzare alternate universe, Bangladeshi? Because you sound aloof and utterly ignorant.

    Did you know that India was the first country to ban LTTE, without anyone asking for it?

    Did you know that when India supported supported LTTE, LTTE was not a terrorist organization?

    You say “tamil gerilla was a veritable arm of RAW & this also gave you indians the excuse of intefering in srilanka by sending troops”

    Now that has to take the cake. So, as per your assertion, India supported LTTE and also sent troops to kill LTTE? Wow! Did it happen in your dream?

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  • MAP
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:23PM

    @Diggvijay Singh:
    Which institution do you belong to? you want me to take a guess?

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  • vasan
    Oct 3, 2011 - 3:18PM

    ET : Why have you not posted any of my replies/rejoinders to messages targeted at me? In what way it violated your codes/ethics??????

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