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President Asif Ali Zardari. — Photo by Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said that before we launch any operation against the militants, we would have to analyse our capability to deal with their retaliatory moves, DawnNews reported.

Addressing the the concluding session of 5th National Conference of South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) on media, militancy and fair elections at the President House , the president said that war against terrorism will be fought with national consensus.

“We agree that we need to act against militants, but are we ready for a possible blow back?” the president questioned.

He said “There is need to have consensus following the policy of reconciliation to achieve the desired results in the war against terror and ensure peace and security.” Adding that, He said “if we don’t reconcile amongst ourselves, we cannot reconcile with other countries.”

President Zardari said “in the present situation, it seems that it is futile to talk about consensus with the opposition parties.”

Zardari said that when the war started, many countries came forward and pledged their support for it but only China economically supported Pakistan during this war.

The president said that we have consistently opposed drone attacks and we will continue to oppose them. Drone attacks were a violation of our sovereignty and are counterproductive.”

He said, “We will also not permit the militants use our territory to launch attack outside our borders.”

The president said that both people and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should join hands in eliminating the terrorists and their hideouts.

Blame game will be counterproductive to the cause and will only strengthen the militants, he said.

He said that “as a president, I am accountable to the nation.” Adding that, he requested the media to show both sides of the picture. He said that it’s not only Pakistan; there is a financial crisis in the entire world.

He said, “He does not claim that all has been perfect during the last four and a half years but in view of the multidimensional problems, the government did its best to confront the challenges.

The President said that as a remarkable step forward, “We managed to strip the presidency of all its powers as part of efforts to further strengthen the democracy.”

Polarization of society

The president said that he was pleased to learn that Safma has addressed some of the most important issues - ranging from attack on Malala Yousufzai, to the threats to democratic values, to media accountability, gender issues and holding of free and fair elections.

The president drew attention of the participants towards polarization in the society and emphasized upon the need for greater unity in wake of the threats by the militants to the peace including attack on the children.

He urged all the segments of the society including the media to sit together and help evolving consensus of the society to defeat the mindset that attack our innocent girls like Malala Yousafzai.

President Zardari said, “the attack on Malala Yousafzai was an attack on our values and on the future of our new generation.”

He said that Malala Yousafzai was attacked because she raised the flag of peace and education for children. The President said that the terrorist seek to impose their agenda by force which he said cannot be allowed under any circumstances; it will not be.

Pointing out polarization in society on the issue of dealing with militancy, the President regretted that when former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer was assassinated  no lawyer was willing to prosecute the case and very few people showed their support with his family.