New York, Sep 23: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that only his country's its troops were authorised to attack terrorists on its soil, and that any foreign troops crossing into its territory 'violate the UN Charter.'
The statement assumes significance in the wake of the reported US troops' incursions, both air and on the ground, into Pakistani territory to attack militants' hideouts. Zardari said that Pakistan would be able to defeat terrorists with the co-operation of its anti-terrorism partners (the US). Pakistan would ask any American troops crossing into its territory to leave, and was confident that they would go, he added. 'Pakistan is capable of fighting terrorism with the help of the world, yes we are capable,' the Daily Times quoted him as saying in interview recorded before his departure to the US to attend the UN General Assembly session.
Zardari said terrorists were challenging democracy in Pakistan. "My heart goes out to the people. I want the world to understand that this is a signal from the terrorists. They are challenging this democracy of Pakistan. They are challenging the people of Pakistan. They are challenging the world," he said.
He said the fight against terrorism was Pakistan's war. "As soon as we came into the government we redefined the whole situation by calling it our war. It is a question for me to have political strength to go to the people and tell them it is our war."
He made it clear that only Pakistani troops have the responsibility to carry out any anti-terrorism operations on the Pakistani soil, and urged Washington to share intelligence with Islamabad.
About the reports about the presence of Taliban and al Qaeda militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), he said, "We are already there, we will catch them, give us the intelligence and we will do the job. Pakistani forces could better do the anti-terrorism job in FATA. Our orders are clear not to allow any incursion of anybody in Pakistan. American troops are coming, without letting us know, without Pakistan's permission, they are violating the United Nations charter."
The President said that Pakistan remained united with the world in combating terrorism. "And we are there to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the world, looking the terrorists in the eye. And we will fight them," he added.