Hamid Karzai says his hot pursuit remarks not aimed at Pak govt

Afghanistan President Hamid KarzaiKabul, June 17: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said that his Sunday’s statement of launching attacks on Pakistani soil to raze off terrorist sanctuaries was not targeted at Pakistan as a nation, but was limited to fighting out the menace of terrorism in the Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghan border.

He said he did not feel that the civilian government in Islamabad was responsible for the situation along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Karzai said this last evening while talking to a group of Pakistani journalists at Gulkhana Palace.

The Afghan President said that the two governments (Pakistan and Afghanistan) should join hands to wipe out the elements working against peace and stability and against the innocent people on either side of the border. He said militant leaders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Fazlullah were enemies of the Pukhtuns.

“I am very serious because it is a very serious matter. When Baitullah Mehsud and Mulla Fazl make statements about going into Afghanistan to kill innocent people, what do you expect us to do. What would the government of Pakistan do in such a situation,” the Dawn quoted him as saying.

He made it clear that he was not showing any disrespect to the civilian government of Pakistan, and said that he had held good conversations with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Karzai said his remarks were aimed at spelling out his government’s right to defend itself. He said Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Fazlullah were burning schools in Swat, Mardan and elsewhere. “They must pay for their crimes and even if they don’t come to Afghanistan and if they burn schools I will treat them as enemies. It is a very, very serious matter. If the government of Pakistan can bring to justice the two and the likes of them on its own, we have no objection, but we want results,” said Karzai.

He pointed out that Baitullah Mehsud had been accused by the government of Pakistan of killing former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and of many suicide bombings, asking how the government could negotiate with such a person. “If you are negotiating with Taliban, we don’t mind because we are also doing it,” he added.

When asked about peace deals being worked out by the Awami National Party (ANP) in NWFP with the militants, he said that ANP was a responsible party and it had suffered for the Pukhtun cause. “If they are doing it, they are doing it with good intentions. We will back them,” he added. (ANI)

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