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Extremism-moderation battle in Pak to affect West's war on terror success: Zardari


March 6, 2011 - Washington

The assassinations of Pakistan Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in the country "affects the success of the civilized world's confrontation with the terrorist menace," President Asif Ali Zardari has said.

"Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: "There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West," Zardari wrote in The Washington Post.

"These assassinations [of Bhatti and Taseer] painfully reinforce my wife's words," he added.

Zardari rued that a "small but increasingly belligerent minority" was intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance that are repeated over and over in the Koran, and upon which Pakistan was founded in 1947.

"The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls' schools in the Swat Valley," he added.

Zardari vowed that Pakistan will neither be intimidated by such extremist forces, "nor will it retreat."

"Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world," he added.

ANI

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