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Pakistan fighting for survival, says Zardari

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said his country was "fighting the war for its survival" and the military operation was ordered as the last resort against militants and extremists who challenged the writ of the state.

world Updated: May 23, 2009 20:37 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday said his country was "fighting the war for its survival" and the military operation was ordered as the last resort against militants and extremists who challenged the writ of the state.

He was talking to a delegation of parliamentarians from Swat and Malakand areas where security forces are engaged in a major offensive against the militants, a statement from the President's Office said.

The President reiterated his resolve to rooting out militancy and extremism from NWFP and said priority would be given for development of the province, it said.

He said now the government was confronted with a new challenge and was pursuing the "three R's initiative of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in the insurgency-hit areas".

The President said his government's focus was on relief and rehabilitation of people displaced from their homes due to fighting between the security forces and militants.

The UN refugee agency says that over two million people have been displaced from Swat and other areas in northwest.

The President said that the internally displaced people had made huge sacrifices for the survival of the country and the government will do everything possible to rehabilitate them.