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Zardari's remarks show a greater flexibility

New Delhi, Tue, 07 Oct 2008 NI Wire

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has been criticised at home and in Kashmir by separatists for describing India administered Kashmir rebels as “terrorists” rather than “freedom fighters” or "jihadis". Though he soon walked back from his statement clarifying that there is no shift in Pakistan’s policy towards Kashmir, but this has opened up a new route towards a stable relation between both the countries.

Furthermore, describing arch-foe India as "never been a threat" to Pakistan has certainly annoyed many on the traditional block including Pakistan army. But Zardari with his latest reference to India has definitely emerged with a new approach, at least by accepting and defining terrorists operating in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, and Kashmir in India.

Zardari with a deteriorating Pakistan economy, continuous militant violence and volatile political set up has much more challenge ahead to re-establish its dwindling political, social and economic stability.

A positive stride from this new democratic set up in Pakistan is evident from Zardari’s earlier statements in which he had expressed his government’s stand to maintain a friendly relation with India through a greater trade and economic ties. Though setting aside the traditional Kashmir issue no where stands in policy of any of the earlier rulers, but a more flexible approach can encourage India towards a greater cooperation.

If the recent words of the new Pakistan President mean some kind of changes of approach, if not the entire policy, they would serve a larger cause of peace and stability in the region provided the Pakistan military and intelligence work in tandem with Zardari. Because without the full backing of military, it would be highly complex for any Pakistan ruler to deal with a range of crisis from economy to fight against extremists.

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