Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has called for national
reconciliation in his Pakistan Day address, as the nation eases out of
a volatile political crisis.
The president appealed Monday for what he called the "healing of
wounds," and urged all Pakistanis to work in the spirit of tolerance.
His holiday message commemorates the 69th anniversary of the movement
by Muslims on the Indian sub-continent to create a separate country.
It follows his appeal to repair relations with the political
opposition, after the government averted a march on the capital last
week by reinstating the popular Supreme Court justice (Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry).
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani carried a message of reconciliation
from the president to opposition leader Nawaz Sharif on Sunday.
Mr. Sharif said his opposition party would cooperate with the government.
Western nations had expressed concern that the political crisis would
distract the Pakistani government from its fight against extremist
militants in the northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
In the border region of North Waziristan Monday, security officials
said militants shot dead at least one man after accusing him of spying
for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Authorities also reported that gunmen on a motorbike killed a member of
a banned Sunni extremist group in Dera Ismail Khan, a northwestern town
plagued by sectarian violence.