Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zardari admits terrorism nurtured by govt for tactical use

ISLAMABAD: In an astonishingly candid admission - a first by any
Pakistani head of state - president Asif Ali Zardari has admitted
militants and
terrorists were wilfully created by past Pakistani governments and
nurtured as a policy to achieve tactical objectives.

``Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and
challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened
and demoralized but because they were deliberately created and
nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives. Let's
be truthful and make a candid admission of the reality,'' he said at a
gathering of civil servants in Islamabad on Tuesday night.

``The terrorists of today were heroes of yesteryear until 9/11
occurred and they began to haunt us as well,'' Zardari said,
emphasising that Pakistan can't be left alone at this stage of the war
on terror. He also pointedly said that the future generations won't
forgive the current leadership if it does not take corrective

India has long charged Pakistan with sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir
by providing arms, ammunition and training to the militants who have
been engaged in a war of secession. Zardari's admission is bound to
create a major flutter in Islamabad, particularly within the Army,
which has historically been the author of Pakistan's India policy.

``Pakistan is a frontline state in the war against terror and we have
pledged to eliminate this scourge. I have taken charge of the country
at a difficult time and will meet the challenges facing the country,''
he said.

Criticising former military rulers of Pakistan - in itself an act of
derring-do - Zardari said concentration of power in one individual was
against the spirit of democracy and good governance; power must be
dispersed. ``Too much power in one hand lasts for a short time,'' he
said. ``For power to be effectively used for long lasting public good,
it must be dispersed as widely as possible,'' he added.

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