Islamabad: Stressing that his country is fighting a war for its survival against extremists, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has ruled out any cut in the nation’s defence expenditure.
Speaking during a function at the National Defence University (NDU), Zardari, however, said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led government is focussing on the policy of reconciliation and tolerance, and would never let ‘non-state actors’ take the country hostage and force it into a war.
“We cannot afford to cut down allocations for the armed forces,” Zardari said, adding, “War is not a part of a democratic mindset.”
Zardari said the government would continue the fight against extremists on the lines of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who had opted to stand against the ‘non-state actors’ and deny them a free- run in the country.
“She (Benazir) always believed that if she abandoned the field to the terrorists, they would have won by default. So she opted to stand up to them,” The Nation quoted Zardari, as saying.
He said the best scenario for terrorists was to be able to operate freely in a “no-state” environment where their structure would overpower the state structure.
Expressing concern over the country’s sagging economy, Zardari said security and defence needs of a country depends on its economy and added that the government has taken several steps to put it back on track.
Commenting on the Balochistan issue, he pointed out that it was important to win the trust of the people in the region for which the government has initiated several steps.