Zardari calls for an end to drone strikes

By AFP
Published: September 15, 2012
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President Asif Ali Zardari during his meeting with Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman. PHOTO: INP

President Asif Ali Zardari during his meeting with Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday called for an end to drone attacks, terming them counter-productive in the fight against militancy and in the battle of winning hearts and urged for alternative solutions.

President Zardari in a meeting with United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Saturday, discussed bilateral situation.

Senator Farhatullah Babar, while briefing newsmen about the meeting, said that Pak-US bilateral situation, fight against militancy, regional situation, drug trafficking and drone attacks were discussed during the meeting.

The president said that it was important for both the countries to work for greater engagements in all fields and to revive mutual confidence to further pursue mutual interest of peace and stability.

Expressing hope that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s forthcoming visit to Washington between September 18 and 22, would help jump-start the bilateral strategic dialogue.

Zardari said that that Pakistan would continue supporting the international community for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process as Pakistan’s peace and stability greatly depended on Afghanistan’s peace and stability.

The president further said that Pakistan and US shared a common objective of defeating al Qaeda and crushing terrorism which could only be achieved through coordinated cross-border actions.

Referring to the burgeoning illicit drug trade, which according to a recent UN report contributed as much as $100 million to the Taliban insurgency, he said that heroine had been developed as a war weapon but it has now become a major financial source for militants. He urged the international to find a solution to the problem.

Zardari and Grossman discussed the regional conference due to be held at the end of the year and the need to formulate a common strategy against drug-trafficking in the region. The president pointed out that the goal of establishing long-term, sustained and durable Pak-US equation would remain elusive till the issue of trust deficit was solved in an effective manner.

The president also condemned the anti-Islam film produced in the US that has sparked protests in a number of countries. Stressing on the need for collective actions and respect for people from different communities or faith, he said that rationality and tolerance was fast eroding from the society.

“Pakistan regards its relations with US as very important”

Earlier, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in his bilateral meeting with Grossman said that Pakistan regarded its relations with the United States as “very important” and that Pakistan valued it as a major development partner.

“The prime minister said that relations between Pakistan and the United States are very important and we value the United States as a major development partner,” a statement issued by Ashraf’s office said.

“We have a shared objective in fighting terrorism and need to cooperate more to get rid of this menace,” the statement said.

Ambassador Grossman said that future relations between Pakistan and the United States should be based on market access and trade.

The US government was working on a bilateral investment treaty to “facilitate” US investment in Pakistan and improve market access, according to the Pakistani statement.

It said that the United States has promised $200 million for the construction of Diamer-Basha dam in northern Pakistan.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington have been rocky for years, and have only just resumed after nosediving following the secret raid that killed Osama bin Laden and an air raid that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops.

Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt as the main hub of Taliban and al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • s
    Sep 15, 2012 - 8:49PM

    According to their Ambassador in Isbd future relations will be based on trade. The only thing they have for sale is “Jagga” called insurance guarantee. For all other commodities USA is too far away to be viable. In fact we in Pakistan cannot operate effectively because a country like the USA that has “Holocaust denying” as a punishable crime to insist that Pakistan change its Blasphemy law is really Hippocratic. The US must fundamentally change its policy in the Mideast to stay in this region.

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  • Sep 15, 2012 - 8:50PM

    Photo of Zardari and statement of Raja Parvez?

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  • A2Z
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:09PM

    They killed innocent people in last five years and now want an end to drone strikes. These cheap tactics will not win any seats in elections. Recommend

  • Nand
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:09PM

    @s:
    The day USA will change is the day Pakistan refuses aid (civil and military).

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  • Cautious
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:12PM

    @S. Your ignorance and bias is showing. First the USA continues to be your largest export market so your comment about the USA being too far away for your commodities is off base. Secondly the USA has no law prohibiting “holocaust denying”.

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  • AQEEL
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:30PM

    i think zadari is scared that IK waziristan march may stop drones 1st

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:47PM

    you didnt say please.

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:50PM

    Drones are doing a good job Mr President! Please take back your statement.

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  • dalwala
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:37PM

    I’m an interpretor and I had a conversation with an American General in the south of Afghanistan about Drones and he says that if Pakistan gives up just 4 people to Afghanistan such as Mullah Omar, Al Zawahiri, Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, they might stop pounding NWA…

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  • Indian Catholic
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Beggars can’t be choosers.
    .
    @s: Hippocratic and hypocritical are two completely different things. The former is an oath that doctors take.
    .
    Also the US does not have a law against holocaust denial as Cautious pointed out. Simply repeating the same thing over and over again does not make it true. If you really want to compare, the law against holocaust denial pales in front of your blasphemy law since the former is punishable with up to 5 years in prison in Germany whereas with the latter one is punishable by death.Recommend

  • Shamy
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:45PM

    What a game plan this is to win the elections next year by the president…He is by far the smartest politician !

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  • R
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:53PM

    @s:
    You can deny the holocaust anytime you want. Our constitution protects freedom of speech, including unpopular forms such as hate speech.Recommend

  • ayesha azeem
    Sep 15, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Wow….Couldn’t he call for an end to drone strikes before?Why only now?Just because its election year…HuH???
    Stop making a fool of us Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 16, 2012 - 12:36AM

    @s:
    There is no law in the US makes denying the Holocaust a crime! Please learn about American laws before parroting someone else’s ignorance!

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  • Pakistani Pashtoon
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:10AM

    The president further said that Pakistan and US shared a common objective of defeating al Qaeda and crushing terrorism which could only be achieved through coordinated cross-border actions. lol how come pak share objective when blacklisting the terrorist, pakistan changed its tone of engagement by going to Russia?

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 16, 2012 - 9:45AM

    Bluffing each other is at his best and smiles on both sides has no reality.Pakistan’s present policy towards USA is “penny wise £ foolish”.Pakistan was always and is the only breather for USA in this region.When our strategist(if at all some genuine exist)will understand.

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  • Sep 16, 2012 - 8:00PM

    They are sure,all the insurgents,terrorists and suicide attackers have their safe havens in Pakistan’s same-autonomous north western tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

    Noristan and Kunar where in pro karzai militants have their sanctuaries has totally been overlooked.
    They,time and again attacked Pakistani territories and committed insurgency in side the country.
    Arrested terrorists confessed their crime and exposed some other important information and facts attributed to the conspiracies being hatched by some concerned quarters in Afghanistan.

    Not a long ago,Pakistan armed forces took sever action against the terrorists in Waziristan,what Afghan leadership had done in the comparison.On the contrary,pressure being increased on Pakistan.for overcoming the activities of Haqqani net work.

    In the near past,United States blindly acted in the tribal areas by drone attacks.innocent people was targeted too,resulting in counterproductive appeared.

    President’s view in this connection is highly admirable.Existing policy must be changed.Drones are not the solution of the matter.

    Battle of winning hearts and other alternative option must be adopted to resolve this decade long carnage otherwise it may prolonged.This time ,we are going through a long dark tunnel and there is no light at the end of it.

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