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Pakistan urges U.S. restraint in comments

Oct. 14, 2011 at 4:33 AM   |   Comments

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The United States should use restraint in making statements about Pakistan because any public verbal assault benefits the militants, Pakistan's president said.

A spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari said he delivered the admonition during a meeting with Marc Grossman, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan's Dawn reported.

Zardari told Grossman restraint should be exercised to develop a cooperative roadmap to overcome the trust deficit between the two countries, whose relations have been strained since the May killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces inside Pakistan. Tension over the Haqqani Network, the violent Taliban-linked group accused of using its safe haven in Pakistan to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is also straining relations between Washington and Islamabad.

"Ironically, militants and terrorists gained the most from verbal assaults and finger-pointing at Pakistan or questioning commitment to fighting extremists," Zardari was quoted as saying.

"Despite negative propaganda against Pakistan, we are committed to regional peace and have decided to attend the forthcoming trilateral summit of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey in Istanbul next month for peace and stability in the region," he said.

Grossman also met with other top Pakistani officials and military leaders.

At a news briefing with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Grossman said he and Khar discussed "how we can continue in a systematic way in order to identify the interests that we have in common and there are many and find ways to work on them jointly," the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its Web site.

Grossman said bilateral relations are important for both countries.

Pakistan's News International newspaper reported that in his talks with Grossman, Zardari said the time for "verbal assaults" was over and "clearly defined, well documented and mutually agreed terms of engagement" should define ties between the two countries.

Grossman arrived in Islamabad Thursday -- the same day that U.S. officials confirmed a suspected U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, killed Janbaz Zadran, a senior commander of the Haqqani militant group.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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