Saturday, March 22, 2008

NYT 'warns' of Pakistani leaders planning talks with militants

March 22 (AFP): The leaders of Pakistan’s newly-formed coalition government intend to start negotiations with militants in a hope of ending the spate of bombings that has shaken the country, The New York Times reported on its website late Friday.

It said Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz Sharif Pakistan Muslim League-N said in interviews that they will use military force only as a last resort. The talk of a softer approach to militants has alarmed US officials. Many Pakistanis -- the NYT report said -- are convinced the surge in suicide bombings (17 in the first 10 weeks of 2008) is retaliation for three Predator strikes since the year’s beginning.

Speaking in separate interviews, Zardari and Sharif said they were determined to set a different course from Musharraf. Sharif is quoted as saying, “we will deal with them sensibly. When you have a problem in your family, you don't kill your own family, you sit and talk. Britain got the Ireland problem solution. So what's the harm in negotiations?” Zardari said the war against the insurgents has to be redefined as “Pakistan's war” for a public that has come to resent the conflict as being pushed on the country as part of a US agenda, The Times said. “Obviously what they have been doing for the last eight years has not been working,” Zardari said.

1 comment:

ReallyVirtual said...

Wow, I never thought of these two as sensible - until now.