New Delhi: It has been a big first admission from Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. He has finally said that militants and extremists were "created and nurtured" in Pakistan for short-term tactical objectives.
The remarks were made during a meeting with retired senior officials on Tuesday evening.
Zardari said: "Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities. The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well. They were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives."
Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they "were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives," he said.
Labelling Pakistan as a frontline state in the war against terrorism, Zardari pledged to eliminate this scourge from society. "I have taken charge at a difficult time and will come up to the challenges the country is facing."
His admission came days after he said in an interview that the Pakistan Army would even target militants it had backed in the past for use as a proxy force against India.