Pakistan does not object to Indo-US N-deal: Zardari

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Washington, Oct 5 (UNI) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said he has no objection to the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, so long as Pakistan is treated ''at par.'' In a weekend interview to Wall Street Journal, Mr Zardari made it clear that his government is not opposed to the deal.

''Why would we begrudge the largest democracy in the world getting friendly with one of the oldest democracies in the world?'' Replying to a question regarding signing a free trade agreement with India, the President affirmed that New Delhi has never been a threat to Pakistan and any step in this regard would be a welcome step.

''India has never been a threat to Pakistan and I for one, and our democratic government is not scared of Indian influence abroad, '' he said.

The 53-year-old PPP co-chairperson was also hopeful of better ties with its neighbour. He noted that ''there is no other economic survival for nations like us. We have to trade with our neighbors first.'' On the issue of militancy in Kashmir, Mr Zardari commented that ''the Islamic groups operating in the state are terrorists''.

Mr Zardari, who was recently elected the President of Pakistan, also saw better ties with the US.

He said: ''I am not going to fall for this position that it's an unpopular thing to be an American friend. I am an American friend.'' He also acknowledged that the US is carrying out Predator missile strikes on Pakistani soil with his government's consent.

''We have an understanding, in the sense that we're going after an enemy together.'' UNI XC ARB RP AS1700

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