Islamabad, Oct 6: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday, Oct 5 said that India is not a 'threat' to Pakistan. He described the militants operating in Jammu Kashmir as 'terrorists'. This is first such admission by any top Pakistani leader so far.
“India has never been a threat to Pakistan. I, for one, and our democratic government is not scared of Indian influence abroad," Mr. Zardari told Wall Street Journal in an interview. The Paper quoted him saying that former President Pervez Musharraf would more likely have called them 'freedom fighters.'
The latest positive signals from Zardari come days after his first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York in the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly meeting. Zardari also said that he had no objection to the Indo-US Nuclear deal as long as Pakistan was treated 'at par'.
He also said that he is for better ties with New Delhi.
India on the otherhand welcomed Zardari's remarks on Jammu Kashmir militants as 'terrorists' and hoped that the neighbouring country will honour its words to combat the menace through 'action'.
External Affairs Minister Anand Sharma told media persons that the Zardari's statement is a welcome step. President Zardari and Pakistan should honour the words with action in curbing terrorism." India had always raised the matter of cross-border terrorism on international fora and Zardari's statement confirms this, he added.
BJP also welcomed Zardari's remarks. In New Delhi, BJP National Spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said "The statement of the Pakistan President describing the militants operating in Kashmir as 'terrorists' is a real welcome statement."
Pakistan has always said that people who are fighting for the so-called freedom of Kashmir are essentially 'freedom fighters' not terrorists. But not all are happy with Zardari's remarks.
Siddiq-ul-Farooq, Spokesperson, PML(N) said, "He does not know what the question or the dispute of Kashmir is. He has taken veins of presidentship just now and I think his performance in United States was also not upto the mark."
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said, "As far as the people of Kashmir are concerned, I think they are using a very peaceful way of showing their resentment about their alienation."
Abba Ansari, Hurriyat leader also added, "We strongly condemn Zardari's comment. We have always demanded dialogue to resolve the issue."