Zardari asks PM for time, to bear with him

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 19 2009, 05:14am hrs
A day after India and Pakistan agreed to a meeting between the two foreign secretaries before mid-July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said President Asif Ali Zardari had asked him to bear with him and give him some more time to deal with the menace of terrorism in Pakistan.

When I met President Zardari of Pakistan, we discussed India-Pakistan relations, which remain under considerable stress. The primary cause of this, as everyone knows, is the terrorist attacks against India from Pakistani territory, the PM told reporters on the way back from the Bric summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

I conveyed to President Zardari the full extent of our expectation that the government of Pakistan take strong and effective action to prevent the use of Pakistans territory for terrorist attacks against India, act against the perpetrators of past attacks and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan. The president of Pakistan told me of Pakistans efforts to deal with this menace and the difficulties that they face.

To a separate question, he said, He (Zardari) did mention to me the difficulties that Pakistan is facing in containing terrorism and asked us to bear with him, give him some more time. There was no mention of Kashmir at any time during the discussions, Singh said.

President Zardaris point, the PM said, was that he is fighting a grim battle and there are difficulties in fighting on all fronts and therefore he said, while I am absolutely sincere in controlling terrorism from whatever source it emanates and at whichever country it is directed, you must bear with me.

Reiterating the decision for the foreign secretaries to discuss what Islamabad is doing and can do to prevent terrorism from Pakistan against India and to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice, he said, They will report to us and we will take stock of the situation when we are at Sharm-el-Sheikh for the Non-Aligned Summit in mid-July.

For peace in the subcontinent, he said, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan. It also requires effective and strong action against the enemies of peace. If the leaders of Pakistan have the courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet them more than half-way.

I explained to him (Zardari) that whereas Pakistan has now taken effective action against Taliban and Al Qaeda, we have a feeling that those elements who are actively engaged in perpetrating terrorists acts in our country, they are not being brought to justice, the PM said.