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Zardari says action against JuD in national interest

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says the crackdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah was in the national interest and the authorities would take action against any terror suspects according to the country's laws.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2008 13:08 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the crackdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah following the Mumbai attacks was in the national interest and the authorities would take action against any terror suspects according to the country's laws.

During meetings with partners in the ruling coalition led by his Pakistan People's Party, Zardari said Pakistan wants peace but its desire should not be taken as weakness.

"The government is resolved not to compromise on national integrity and sovereignty," he said. His remarks are in contrast with recent utterances of other Pakistani leaders who have said that the action against Jamaat was being taken following UNSC branding it as a terrorist outfit.

Zardari met separately with delegations of the Awami National Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

The Jamiat has been very critical of the government's decision to crackdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and its chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed his party's strong reservations over the clampdown "without any evidence", media reports said.

Rehman also said the government should use the path of reconciliation to cope with extremism and terrorism.

Zardari told Rehman the government took measures against the Jamaat in the "wider national interest" following the Mumbai attacks but reiterated that Pakistan will act against any terror suspects under its own laws.

Significantly, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, who has good links with India's ruling Congress party, offered to mediate between the two countries to ease the tensions that had arisen in the wake of the Mumbai incident, sources said.

Zardari asked the political parties to stand united to help Pakistan overcome the security threats it is facing. He briefed the delegations about his interactions with world leaders to defuse tensions with India.

There was consensus among the coalition partners to resolve the tensions with India through political and diplomatic channels, sources were quoted as saying by The News daily.

The ANP suggested that opposition parties should also be taken into confidence over the tensions and the international pressure on Pakistan.

The MQM delegation led by Farooq Sattar suggested that concrete measures should be taken to eliminate terrorism and extremism overlooking all vested interests.