India not a threat to Pakistan: Zardari
India not a threat to Pakistan: Zardari India not a threat to Pakistan: Zardari India not a threat to Pakistan: Zardari

PUBLISHED 7/14/2017

Monday, October 06, 2008

WASHINGTON: President Asif Ali Zardari has admitted that India is not a threat to his country and described the militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir as terrorists.

"India has never been a threat to Pakistan I, for one, and our democratic government is not scared of the Indian influence abroad," Zardari told 'Wall Street Journal' in an interview. He spoke of the militant groups operating in Kashmir as "terrorists," the paper said, noting that Pervez Musharraf would more likely have called them "freedom fighters."

Answering a question, Zardari said he had no objection to the India-US nuclear cooperation pact so long as Pakistan is treated "at par." "Why would we begrudge the largest democracy in the world getting friendly with one of the oldest democracy?" he said. Asked whether he would consider a free-trade agreement with India, he responded with a "string of welcome, perhaps even historic, surprises," the paper said. While seeking better ties with New Delhi, he said "there is no other economic survival for nations like us. We have to trade with our neighbours first."

The paper said he imagines Pakistani cement factories being constructed to provide for India's huge infrastructure needs, Pakistani textile mills meeting Indian demand for blue jeans, Pakistani ports being used to relieve the congestion at Indian ones.

About Pakistan's economic crisis, Zardari said he looks to the world to "give me $100 billion." "I need your help," Zardari said more than once. "If we fall, if we can't do it, you can't do it." "I'm looking for temporary relief for my budgetary support and cash for my treasury which does not need to be spent by me. It is not something I want to spend. But [it] will stop the [outflow] of my capital every time there is a bomb. . . . In this situation, how do I create capital confidence, how do I create businessmen's confidence?"

"I am not going to fall for this position that it's an unpopular thing to be an American friend. I am an American friend." He said the firing on the US aircraft was merely an incident, "and while incidents do happen, they are not important."

"We have an understanding, in the sense that we're going after an enemy together." Zardari also acknowledged the problem that had bedeviled past efforts at US-Pakistani cooperation, particularly in intelligence sharing "You know, you keep an uglier alternative around so that you may not be asked to leave," he said, in reference to Musharraf's habit of fighting militants with one hand while protecting them with the other. —Courtesy The Hindustan Time