Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has denied that Pakistan is turning a blind eye to militancy inside the country.
In an interview to The Straits Times, Zardari said that Pakistan was determined to wiping out extremism by hunting down and eliminating terrorists in the country.
He also underscored his resolve by emphasising that Pakistan has been the hardest-hit victim of the scourge, with over 35,000 persons- including security forces- killed by terrorists.
In addition, the extremists had caused economic losses of nearly 68 billion dollars to Pakistan, he pointed out.
Zardari also dismissed the notion that the increasing number of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan was proof that the country was on the brink of becoming a failed state.
Instead, he said, effective law enforcement operations had put terrorists on their heels, and they were launching more attacks out of desperation.
“Our army is capable of defending territory and sovereignty. Apart from that, free media, independent judiciary, a dynamic civil society and an active Parliament are indicators of strengthening Pakistani institutions,” The News quoted Zardari, as saying in the interview.
Talking about US-Pakistan ties, he said that America has “remained a great friend, providing moral support and material assistance to Pakistan through difficult and weighty times.”
“Ties with the US have remained of great relevance to Pakistan and form an important component of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” he said, adding that Islamabad hopes that Washington will focus more on the socio-economic uplift of Pakistan.
He, however, insisted that US-Pak ties have to be “based on mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual trust.”