'Pakistan went out of its way for peace with India'

Published: November 8, 2010

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said India failed to respond positively to peace overtures from Islamabad, after US President Barack Obama urged both countries to resolve their differences.

Pakistan’s civilian government “went out of the way in our peace overtures towards India,” President Zardari told a South Asia media conference in Islamabad, according to a statement from his spokesman late Sunday.

“It would have been most helpful if our initiatives had been welcomed and responded to in a positive manner.” Zardari acknowledged that the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which killed 166 people and were blamed on Pakistan militants, “undermined efforts for peace”. But he said: “Pakistan is cooperating in unearthing and bringing to justice the perpetrators of militant acts.”

On the second day of a visit to India, Obama ventured into the diplomatic minefield between the nuclear rivals, saying New Delhi had the most to gain from a stable Pakistan and urging Islamabad to do more to address extremism.

“My hope is that, over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins perhaps on less controversial issues building up to more controversial issues,” he said.

India is extremely sensitive about outside interference in its relations with Pakistan, particularly over the disputed region of Kashmir, and Obama was keen to avoid upsetting his host or angering Pakistan, a key anti-terror ally. Obama’s three-day visit to India is being watched with envy in Pakistan, where some have interpreted the decision not to include Islamabad on the itinerary of his latest Asian tour as a slight to the country.

Although no dates have been announced, the White House said Obama is committed to visiting Pakistan in 2011 and would welcome Zardari to Washington. Obama’s government has said before that Pakistan must do more on extremism, but the remarks were significant given their venue in Mumbai, where the 2008 attacks were blamed on Pakistan’s outlawed Lashkar-i-Taiba extremist group.

Zardari said his government had dealt head on with the challenge from Taliban militants, which are fighting an insurgency in the northwest near the border with Afghanistan, where both India and Pakistan are vying for influence. “From the very outset we faced the challenge of militancy but we came out in the open against militants and took them head on. The undeclared policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound was abandoned.”

Domestic policy of reconciliation

Zardari also said his policy of reconciliation is meant to strengthen democracy not his government.

The president expressed optimism about the future of Pakistan, saying the country can be steered out of all the problems it is currently facing. He vowed that all those displaced by the war against terrorism will surely return to their homes. He also stressed on the importance of boosting the country’s economy for lifting it out of the grip of the multiple crises that face it.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Ahmer Ali
    Nov 8, 2010 - 11:44AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahamtullah.Our leaders couldn’t understand Indian government’s response on Kashmir issue till now or may be don’t want to understand or intentionally don’t want to understand because on various platforms of the world India has fooled and deceived Pakistani leadership on Kashmir issue by giving hypocritical statements and even in Islamabad and New Delhi on Sectary level talks.What an effrontery our leaders are showing on Kashmir issue on Indian government statement.Our leaders stop seeing day dreaming and star gazing because India has proven itself that India is insincere and dishonest to resolve Kashmir issue through peace talks and every time Indian government links Kashmir issue with the terrorism and interference in Disputed Kashmir supported by ISI or Pakistani government or Jihadi Groups then our this begging and appealing attitude of our leaders on Kashmir issue with Indian government is impossible to understand.Recommend

  • Farhan
    Nov 8, 2010 - 1:30PM

    Present governmeny policy on kashmir is right. Pakistan needs to engage with India and India too should understand the good intentions of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Daubic
    Nov 8, 2010 - 2:30PM

    What is Pakistan to do with Kashmir. Kashmir has nothing to do with Pakistan. As a matter of fact, they should concentrate on improving Human Rights in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan. At least they should give the confidence to its citizen to go to Shrine or Mosque without being blasted or killed in those places. If you go in depth, these monsters are nothing but your own creation for fighting proxy wars against India. So Pakistan please stop thinking out of way for Kashmir solution and start think in sync for internal solutions.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 8, 2010 - 2:56PM

    Indeed it is true when Zardari says, ‘Pakistan went out of its way for peace with Inida’, by sending armed men to Mumbai and massacre the innocent. This is a boneless, coward way of establishing peace with your neighbour. And no way, you can substantiate this act as a part of your freedom struggle in Kashmir. Recommend

  • Hassan Bokhari
    Nov 8, 2010 - 3:19PM

    His excellency Mr.Asif Ali Zardari has been continuing to lead Pakistan in a great manner, even through all the external and internal pressure he has been facing. Such a man who has been jailed without conviction and still fights for the betterment of this country is outstanding. Salute to President Zardari!Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 8, 2010 - 9:43PM

    Well, for India the present situation is the solution. No power in history, as big,as economically powerful and politically stable as India, has voluntarily given a piece of neighbouring land to any other power. It is unlikely to happen in the future also. Throw in constitutional difficulties, permission from Parliament and Supreme Court, and the precedence it is going to set and the status of 150+ million Muslims in India, then you can absolutely write the idea off.

    Pakistan should make the best of the situation of opt for “soft borders” and thereby making them irrelevant, like Musharaff had proposed.Recommend

  • iWatch
    Nov 9, 2010 - 4:26AM

    @ Anonymous: Boo!Recommend

  • Amer
    Nov 9, 2010 - 1:12PM

    @Hassan Bokhari: This article is not for jokes, please be serious :) Recommend

  • Manoj
    Nov 9, 2010 - 4:55PM

    Pakistan PM says India should de link talk from incidence of terrorism. Rephrase this sentence and it means terrorism and talk to go together. Is there any taker of this proposal.
    president of Pakistan can not appoint his Army chief. Mr. Kayani continues even though he was appointed by Mr. Mushsharf.
    In the stratagic talk with USA, Army chief of Pakistan is main negotiator not the minister. The world even does not know the name of defence minister of Pakistan.
    Under these circumstance, why India should talk to a civilian govt of pakistan whose writ does not run on it’s army.

    It’s Army which is rulling Pakistan by proxy and they have vested interest in keeping the hatered with India alive.
    Pakistan needs to sort out it’s own internal problem to engage India for a fruitful diologue process.Recommend

  • Jawed Rajput
    Nov 9, 2010 - 7:16PM

    We should increases our areas of cooperation with the international community with more products to offer instead of frightening them all the time of terror and security. To become a valuable part of the international community the country has to move with economic and human resource development and co-joining our development to swap their interests. Just selling security will not work for long. Recommend

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