Pak positioning itself

Washington: Claiming that Pakistan was positioning itself for the endgame in Afghanistan — post US forces withdrawal — President Asif Ali Zardari has asked why was it unreasonable for Islamabad to be concerned about situation on its Western border.

Backing the recent all-party resolution that Pakistan will be guided by its national interest in response to all challenges, Zardari in an Op-ed in the Washington Post said that recent US accusations against Pakistan of harbouring and supporting Haqqani terror network were a serious setback to the war effort against terror.

Zardari did not attend the nine hours all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday against the backdrop of growing tensions with the US and threats of unilateral American military action against Haqqani militants holed up in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

"As the US plans to remove its ground forces from Afghanistan and once again leave our region, we are attempting to prepare for post-withdrawal realities," the Pakistan President said.

Zardari asked, "So why is it unreasonable for us to be concerned about the immediate and long-term situation of our Western border?"

The strategy of blaming Pakistan not only had a damaging impact on the relationship between the two countries, it also compromises common goals of defeating terrorism, extremism and fanaticism, he wrote.

"It is time for the rhetoric to cool and for serious dialogue between allies to resume," the Pakistan President said.