He said the employment of a liberal policy encouraged religious fanaticism and achieved of certain strategic objectives of terror perpetrators.
"What we are witnessing today is the outcome of that policy of the 80's and even earlier. The policy of using religious extremism as an instrument of war. We in Pakistan have paid a very heavy price for this policy," The News quoted Zardari, as saying.
Addressing a gathering at London's International Institute of Strategic Studies, Zardari pointed out that militants and militancy were not created in a vacuum; they have been the product of a deliberate policy to fight the rival ideology.
The free world adopted a novel strategy that was based on the exploitation of religion to motivate Muslims around the world to wage jihad, he added.
Furthermore, Zardari pointed out that the strategy may have worked well but some serious mistakes were also made as the world abandoned Afghanistan in a hurry and no thought was given to its stability after the withdrawal of foreign forces.
"After the retreat of foreign forces, Afghanistan was abandoned and left at the mercy of the warlords and the jihadis Pakistan has suffered more than others. For decades we had to host and continue to host millions of Afghan refugees," he said.