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Pakistani President Warns Against Violation of National Territory

  • VOA News

Pakistan's new president says his country will not allow foreign powers to violate its territory in the name of fighting terrorism.

But Asif Ali Zardari, addressing Parliament on Saturday for the first time since his election, stressed that rooting out terrorism and extremism is one of the most important tasks facing his government.

Mr. Zardari said he wants to liberate Pakistan from what he called "the shackles of poverty, hunger, terrorism, and disunity". He called on lawmakers to work to bring the tribal areas into the political mainstream by granting the people on the northern frontier representative rule.

He also stressed the need for an independent judiciary and for presidential term limits.

Mr. Zardari was sworn in as Pakistan's president last week, formally returning the country to civilian rule nine years after Pervez Musharraf seized power in a military coup.

Pakistan's military and political leaders have sharply criticized a series of recent U.S. strikes on suspected terrorist targets based in Pakistani tribal regions.

Mr. Zardari said earlier this week, following talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that he does not believe there will be any more cross-border operations.

Mr. Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, signed the presidential oath in Islamabad and immediately pledged to work with Afghanistan to fight terrorism.

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