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President Asif Ali Zardari. – File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday that the opposition was not in a mood for negotiations to forge a common stance on key national issues, including a military operation in North Waziristan.

“In the present situation, it appears that it is futile to talk about consensus with the opposition parties,” he said while addressing the concluding session of a conference organised by the South Asian Free Media Association at the presidency on ‘media, militancy and fair elections’.

The president asserted that the war against terrorism would be fought with national accord.

“We agree that we need to act against militants, but today we don’t have consensus,” he said.

“Before we launch any operation against the militants, we will have to analyse our capability to deal with their retaliatory moves. We agree that we need to act against militants, but are we ready for a possible blowback?” he asked.

“There is need to have consensus through the policy of reconciliation to achieve the desired results in the war against terror and ensure peace and security.

“If we don’t reconcile amongst ourselves we cannot reconcile with other countries,” he said.

President Zardari said many countries had pledged their support when the war began but only China helped Pakistan’s economy.

He said the government had consistently opposed drone attacks.

“We will continue to oppose them. Drone attacks are against our sovereignty and are counter-productive.

“We will also not permit the militants to use our territory to launch attacks outside our borders.”

The president said both the people and governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should join hands to eliminate the terrorists and their hideouts.

Any blame-game in this connection would be counter-productive to the cause and would only strengthen the militants, he said.

Highlighting some problems faced by the people, he said: “As president I am accountable to the nation.”

He requested the media to show both sides of the picture and point out that there was a financial crisis in the entire world.

He said the government had done its best to cope with the multi-dimensional challenges. President Zardari said the attack on Swat’s teenage education activist Malala Yousufzai was an attack on the values of Pakistani people and the future generation.

He said terrorists wanted to impose their agenda by force which could not be allowed under any circumstances.

Pointing out polarisation in the society on the issue of dealing with militancy, the president regretted that when Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated no lawyer was willing to pursue the case and very few people expressed their support for his family.

Comments (5) Closed

faz Oct 22, 2012 06:04pm
Man lost his wife what else you want.
Leftist Oct 22, 2012 06:56am
get some backbone man !
Sceptic Oct 22, 2012 12:59pm
That's the statement from a man only interested in preserving himself. That's not the answer of a leader. He appears confused, conflicted and delusional. That he is not an intellectual was a foregone conclusion but to make such ridiculous statements when the nation needs strong leadership is pathetic and downright offensive. He la is moral and physical courage and he is taking the country down with him.
Khanzada Oct 22, 2012 03:52am
SHAME on you MR. Zardari! You have failed in your job to protect your people with strong governance,Law and Order over all of your country including Tribal areas. For more than 4 years you have been delaying the large scale operation required to eliminate the Taliban from Tribal areas. You are the leader of the nation and need to show some courage and guts like MALALA against the Taliban! You need to demonstrate personal accountability and tough decision making to save your country from terrorism! Instead you keep asking for "national consensus" to take tough decisions, for which you don't have the courage to take a stand for your country's survival! If you cannot give the orders to carry out the operation, then kindly resign as President of Pakistan! STOP playing a double game with your people by allowing drone attacks in secret and condemning them in public! If you govern your country properly and bring law and order to tribal areas, there will be no need for drone attacks!
Bilal Oct 22, 2012 04:29am
Good on you Mr. President. Great speech and responsible attitude towards the most critical challenge Pakistan is facing today..