Zardari rebuffs Obama's call for more action against militants

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Washington, Dec.16 (ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has cold-shouldered President Barack Obama's call for more action against the militants hiding inside the country's lawless tribal region, and has instead asked the White House to speed up the military assistance to the Pakistani Army and more importantly 'intervene forcefully with India'.

In a written response to Obama's letter, Zardari said the government is determined to take action against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and other allied militant groups.

Zardari, in his response, has underlined that Pakistan's efforts against the extremists operating from its soils would be based on its 'own time line and operational needs,' The Washington Post reports.

Zardari's 'resistive' stance was conveyed to visiting CENTCOM Chief General David Petraeus, who was told by Pakistan's military chief General Ashfaq Kayani that Washington should not expect 'a major offensive in North Waziristan.'

Obama's call for doing more, and Zardari's snub clearly highlights that the rift between Islamabad and the White House has widened.

Pakistani officials also made it clear that while Islamabad is committed to the 'war on terror', it does not want foreign countries to dictate terms to it.

"We're committed to this war, but we'll fight it on our terms. . . . We will prioritize targets based on our interests. We don't want them to be dictated to us," the newspaper quoted a Pakistani intelligence official, as saying.

"The Pakistani Taliban is the clear and present danger. They are what matters most. Once we are done with them, we will go after the Haqqani network," he added, on conditions of anonymity.

The remarks comes days after the Obama administration urged Pakistan to take on the Haqqani network, a long time 'asset' of Pakistan's spy agency (ISI) which uses the tribal area of North Waziristan as its sanctuary.

However, the US demands were snubbed almost simultaneously, as Pakistani officials said that action against the Haqqani network is contrary to the country's interests in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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