Pakistan has lost over 36,000 innocent men, women and children and suffered a direct economic loss of over $70 billion in the fight against terrorism, President Asif Ali Zardari said.
“No country has made greater contributions and sacrifices in fighting terrorism than Pakistan. We have lost our great leader and my wife Benazir Bhutto at the hands of terrorists. No-one should question our commitment or intentions in fighting the war,” Zardari said in an interview with leading Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
According to Pakistan’s Dawn, Zardari is in Istanbul to attend a trilateral summit on Afghanistan.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul will host the 6th Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan summit in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Zardari is expected to hold talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai within the sidelines of the conference. It will be their first meeting since the assassination of former Afghan president and peace council head Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 20.
Their talks will focus on evolving a new strategy on the war against terrorism, Dawn reported.
In his interview with the Turkish newspaper, Zardari said the Osama bin Laden issue was now history and Pakistan was looking forward to a new chapter of relations with the United States. “The source of the greatest evil of the new millennium had met his eventual fate,” Zardari said.
“We should look into the future and ensure that the militant mindset is defeated. The sooner we stop public criticism and finger-pointing at each other and coordinate our resources, the better it will serve the cause of peace and stability and in the fight against extremism and militancy,” he said.