Pakistan's President tries to avoid war

Financial Times:

Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India on Sunday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, warning that militants had the power to precipitate a war in the region.

As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic recriminations after the three-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible for the attacks.

Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, [a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India] who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its shared border with Afghanistan.

“We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated [the] 9/11 [attacks on the US] or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,” said Mr Zardari.

“Now, events in Mumbai tell us that there are ongoing efforts to carry out copycat attacks by militants. We must all stand together to fight out this menace.”

The Indian government was on Sunday under intense pressure to respond aggressively to the attacks, which claimed at least 192 lives in a rampage by a team of well-organised terrorists. India’s security was being taken to “war level”, Sriprakash Jaiswal, the minister of state for home affairs told Reuters.

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If he wants to avoid conflict he should aggressively go after the perps. Pakistan's government seems to blunder from fear of the extremist to fear of those reacting to the extremist and never finds a place to land in a solid position. It is time for it to chose against the religious bigots and stand on the side of the rest of the world.

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