Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is a
"good" partner in war on terror, but refrained from giving a
similar certificate to the Pakistani military and ISI, who she
said have maintained links with militant groups for decades.
Testifying before a Congressional committee yesterday,
Hillary said, "I think Congressman, what President Zardari
told you on behalf of the civilian leadership of the
government of Pakistan is true."
"He has been a good partner in going after terrorism that
threatens his country and Afghanistan and our troops," she
said while responding to questions from Senator Michael
Denying that US has any proof of any Pakistani high-level
officials knowing about the presence of Osama bin Laden, she
said, "We have no evidence of any high-level official knowing
about bin Laden. But, like you, I have to assume that
lower-level people had to have known something. But we haven`t
proven that. It could be asserted, but not yet proven."
"This is a complicated, difficult relationship. What we
are doing now is making it very clear what our expectations
have to be going forward. And there is no doubt in my mind
that certain elements of the Pakistani government are more
ambivalent about cracking down on terrorism than other
elements," Hillary said.
"You know, when I sit across from the foreign minister or
talk to the ambassador or talk to the prime minister and
others, I think they are very sincere. They know that the
scourge of terrorism is killing Pakistanis."
Deliberating further, Hillary said, "Zardari knows that
terrorists killed his wife. And yet there has been
relationship between terrorist groups and the military and the
intelligence services for many decades.
"The fact that this democratically elected government has
survived longer than any other democratically elected
government, is a unique thing. For the first time in the
Parliament, you have questions being asked of the military and
the ISI. You have the Supreme Court asking questions about
actions of the military and the ISI," she told the lawmakers.
"So you see the strains and stresses of trying to have a
civilian government in a democracy assert control over all
elements of the government. We want to continue to support the
democratic trend inside Pakistan," Hillary said.