ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 10 (UPI) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, as he left Tuesday for Iran, called Pakistan a "vibrant and functioning society," not a dysfunctional state.
Zardari is to be in Iran for two days, The Dawn reported. He issued a statement shortly before his departure blasting critics of Pakistan.
"Such propaganda can only be purveyed by our detractors," Zardari said. "We have met the challenges of extremism and terrorism head on. In fact, we have carried the burden of others. We have the capacity to effectively meet these challenges."
Zardari became president after his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated as she left a political rally in December 2007. He said that Pakistan has "met the challenges of extremism and terrorism head on."
"Pakistan is today a vibrant and functioning democracy with a free media and a dynamic civil society," Zardari said. "We have an ongoing energetic public discourse. The democratic process and our institutional capacity are gaining strength."
Indian investigators say that the planners of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai were based in Pakistan and may have had help from the security services.