APP : Total co-operation exists between Pakistan and ISAF in Afghanistan: President Musharraf

Monday, January 28, 2008

Total co-operation exists between Pakistan and ISAF in Afghanistan: President Musharraf

January 26, 2008

LONDON, Jan 26 (APP): President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday that Pakistan and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan have total co-operation with each other in fighting the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda elements but added no more US forces are required to achieve the success. Addressing the prestigeous British think tank - Royal United Services Institute - soon after his arrival in the British capital on the last leg of his four-nation European tour, he underscored the need for political dialogue as well and said military means alone cannot ensure a lasting victory.

Speaking on a ‘Vision for Pakistan and Regional Harmony’, the President ruled out allowing any foreign forces to operate from inside the borders of Pakistan and said Pakistani forces were fully capable of meeting any challenges. He said Pakistan would continue to support the Bonn process for bringing peace in Afghanistan.

He warned that fight against terrorism and extremism was unachievable without the support and co-operation of Pakistan and any instablity in the South Asian country was bound to be felt in the streets of Europe.

The President said measures, taken by Pakistan to strengthen its western borders, have been appreciated by the ISAF Commander. He said the NATO forces were doing a good job in Afghanistan but they must not ignore the political path.

He said Pakistan has established 1000 posts and done selective fencing along its borders with Afghanistan, adding the other effective step to wean away the Taliban elements, was through removing poverty and illiteracy.

The President traced the history of conflict in Afghanistan and underlined the important role played by Pakistan in forcing the Soviet Union to withdraw from the landlocked country in 1989.”

For 10 years, Pakistan was in the forefront of this conflict with the support of its American and Western allies that eventually ended the cold war,” he said while pointing out after that Pakistan and Afghanistan were left alone to fend for themselves.

He said this policy of US and its Western allies turned the people of Afghanistan against them and this gave rise to Taliban and to Al-Qaeda that eventually led to 9/11 events and fresh problems for the two neighbouring countries.

Referring to the suicide bombings in Pakistan, the President blamed Baitullah Mehsud for these heinous acts and said he had been luring poor and illiterate young men to carry out these attacks through indoctrination. He said Maulvi Fazullah was also doing the same before being driven out from Swat. South Waziristan remains the only troubled spot out of the all 7 FATA agencies, he added.

Referring to a question on the Pakistan nuclear assets, President Musharraf said there was no danger of these falling into wrong hands as there exists a strong command and control and custodian system under international practice.”There is a zero chance of our nuclear assets falling into Al-Qaeda hands,” he said.

Referring to a question on the escape of suspecterd terrorist Rashid Rauf from the custody of Police in Islamabad, he said there was no need to cast aspersion on the abilities of country’s law enforcing and intelligence agencies, adding the search was underway to arrest him and those responsible for this act would be taken to task.

The President also spoke of the growing friendly relations with India though, he said at the moment the peace process appears to have stalled.

With China, he said, Pakistan enjoys excellent relations and reminded the audience that his country had served as a bridge to facilitate relations between US and China way back in 1971. On Iran, he said Pakistan was against nuclear proliferation but said the nuclear power could be used for the purpose of generating energy.

He assured the audience that February 18 elections would be held in a fair, fair, peaceful and transparent manner and the Election Commission has taken all the measures to ensure its credibility. He added international observers have been allowed from Europe and US to monitor the democratic process.

He defended certain steps taken on November 3 last and said these were taken in the highest national interest and to put the democratic process on the track.

The President firmly asserted that those trying to destabilise the country would not be allowed to do so in any circumstances. He also spoke about the resurgence in Pakistan economy and the increase in the foreign direct investment.