News / Asia

Zardari: Militancy and Terrorism are Greatest Threat to Pakistan

FILE - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Dec. 12, 2012.
FILE - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Dec. 12, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated Monday that militancy and terrorism pose “the greatest threat” to his country, but he also criticized U.S. drone strikes against al-Qaida and its allies as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. 

The remarks followed a militant attack on trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces that killed at least four people.  

Addressing a joint session of Pakistan's parliament at the beginning of its first year, President Asif Ali Zardari urged the newly elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to work toward finding solutions to economic challenges, a nation-wide deepening energy crisis and a Taliban militancy threatening the stability of Pakistan.

"Militancy, extremism and terrorism pose the greatest threat to our national security.  The nation is united against militants.  We need strong leadership to overcome the threat," said Zardari.

The Pakistani Taliban and their allies are waging a deadly insurgency particularly in regions near the Afghan border.  Pakistani troops have conducted major operations to crush the insurgency, but retaliatory suicide and other terrorist attacks have killed thousands of civilians and security forces.  

After elections last month, and becoming the country’s chief executive for a third time, Prime Minister Sharif promised to seek an end to the militancy through peaceful talks, rather than relying on military force.

But President Zardari cautioned Monday against such attempts.  
“We are ready to make peace with those willing to give up violence.  But we should also be ready to use force against those who challenge the writ of the state," he said.

Pakistan is a close U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic militancy, but suspicions that Pakistani intelligence operatives still maintain ties to anti-America extremists like the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban remain a source of diplomatic tensions.

Without naming any country, President Zardari again dismissed those allegations and said Pakistan is determined to root out militancy with the cooperation of its allies.    

“Militancy threatens all countries in the region and indeed the whole world.  It calls for sincere and collective efforts of all. We can fight militancy better, through dialogue and cooperation rather than doubting each other," he said.

Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal territory is believed to be a stronghold of fugitive Afghan and al-Qaida militants involved in cross-border attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.  Many believe Islamabad’s alleged inaction mobilizing troops against these extremists has prompted the United States to launch missile attacks using unmanned aircraft or drones against  suspected targets.

The strikes have taken out key al-Qaida and Taliban militants, but Pakistani leaders are opposed to these operations and insist civilian deaths in such attacks are fueling militancy.  President Zardari restated Pakistan’s position on the issue.  

“Drone attacks are a serious violation of sovereignty and international law.  They are also counterproductive and are not acceptable," said Zardari.

The latest drone strike Saturday killed at least seven suspected militants and prompted Pakistan to summon a senior American diplomat in Islamabad to formally protest the continuing strikes.  Prime Minister Sharif has vowed to stand up to Washington over the use the drones.

U.S. officials consider drone strikes  an effective weapon in the fight against terrorism.  The drone attacks in Pakistan have sharply declined this year and President Barack Obama in a speech last month on counter-terrorism policy indicated he may further restrict their use.

Hours before the Pakistani president addressed the national parliament, suspected Taliban militants dressed as policemen attacked trucks carrying supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan.  The assault in the Khyber tribal district left four people dead and two vehicles destroyed.

Taliban insurgents have frequently targeted NATO convoys passing through Khyber, one of two entry points into Afghanistan from Pakistan that international forces use to ferry “non-lethal” supplies.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 10, 2013 4:20 PM
Pakistan President Sardari is a smart politician. He cry about the militancy and terrorism as the greatest threats to Pakistan to get US dollars. He also cry about the US drone attacks to eliminate Taliban, al Qaida and other terrorists to get their votes in elections! If the terrorists are eliminated by the US the politicians in Pakistan cannot get votes! Where is the sovereignty of Pakistan dominated with terrorists, with or without US drone attacks? Pakistan is like Lebanon dominated by the terrorist Hezbollah and Mexico dominated by drug lords.
Sovereignty and security in Pakistan, Lebanon and Mexico are mirages to their own citizens and the outside world.
In Response

by: Enuff Warz
June 11, 2013 12:53 AM
Why are you Indians so obsessed with Pakistan, worry about the 10 different militancies ongoing in India. Don't worry about Pakistan, we are a vibrant, healthy nations, and in much better shape than India. It is Indians that beg the US for jobs and H1B visas, they are desperate to be digital coolies.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs