New Delhi: Yesterday Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari addressed a group of former senior civil servants in Islamabad, stating that terrorist groups in Pakistan arose not because of government weakness, but because of conscious policy decisions made to achieve national objectives.
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“Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities,” he stated. “The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well.”
Two of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, The Dawn and The Daily Times, issued editorials in response to Zardari’s statements.
The Dawn in an editorial titled ‘Jihad and the state’ said,“The president is right, and we would add that the policy was wrong then and it is wrong now. It cannot be any other way. How is it possible to rationally explain to the people of Pakistan that the heroes of yesteryear are the arch-enemies of today? The militants’ religious justifications remain the same; what’s changed is that the militants were fighting the state’s ‘enemies’ yesterday but have turned their guns on the state and its allies today.”
The Daily Times in an editorial ‘Waning power of Taliban’ said, “He (Zardari) described the so-called ‘Taliban policy’ when he said, ‘Militancy and extremism emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives.” This articulation of “change” through the “redefinition” of old policy was needed although it has come only after the “new policy” of confronting the Taliban was actually executed on the ground.”