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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.