`Criticism undermining struggle against militancy`

Pakistan`s President made the remarks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has conveyed to the US that public criticism of Pakistan`s role in the war on terror undermines the "common struggle against militancy in the region".

Zardari made the remarks yesterday during a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called on him with a high-level delegation at the presidency.

He sought enhanced consultations between the two countries on the basis of "mutual respect, sovereignty and interests".

During the one-on-one and delegation-level meetings, the two sides discussed Pakistan-US relations, the fight against militancy and the regional situation with particular reference to Afghanistan, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

"Our people and the leadership are among the first ones to fully realise and comprehend the threat posed by the violent mindset which is bred on the premises of deprivation and fuelled by the sense of inequality," Zardari said.

He said 30,000 civilians and 5,000 military and police personnel had died while securing Pakistan "from the clutches of the militant mindset".

Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s support for all efforts for regional peace, prosperity and connectivity that are "based on existing realities of the region".

Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, he added.


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