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Pakistan to sign another deal with Taliban?

By Lalit K Jha in Washington
May 23, 2009 18:58 IST
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A top Pakistani diplomat in the United States on Saturday said that Islamabad was aware that the peace deal with Taliban in the country's troubled Swat valley would not work but went ahead with it as a tactical move.

Pakistan's ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, in a television interview, said even President Asif Ali Zardari knew about its result from the very beginning of the deal. He also said that such strategy could be repeated in the future.

"It was a tactical move," Haqqani told the CNN, adding, "President Zardari made it very clear that he did not think that this agreement is going to work."

"But it was important to do it to ensure that all those people in the Pakistani political spectrum, who did not want to fight, would then not have an excuse to support the government when the government did go ahead and fight," he said.

The Swat agreement, Haqqani argued, was a limited agreement with a group that was not the Taliban. "It was a group that supported the Taliban. The idea was that this group will prevail upon the Taliban and get them to lay down their arms," he said.

Responding to a question, Haqqani said, "Many of us in the government of Pakistan already knew that the peace agreements cannot work. They were a political tactic. And if the tactic has to be used again, it will be used again."

While the Swat agreement was criticised at that time, Haqqani said nobody is talking about the peace agreements right now.

"Right now, the government of Pakistan has sent in the forces. The Pakistan military is fighting the terrorists effectively. And I think we will fight them and we will win," he said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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