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Pakistan won't nuke India first, says Zardari

November 22, 2008 20:06 IST

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Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday declared that his country will not be the first to use nuclear weapons against India and would work towards opening trade, besides underscoring that Kashmir belonged to the Kashmiri people.

He also said that Pakistan does not feel threatened by India and New Delhi [Images] should also not feel threatened by Islamabad [Images].

Addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit via satellite, Zardari said that he was against nuclear warfare altogether.

"We do not hope to even get to that position when we have to use (nuclear weapons)," he said and proposed a South Asia free of nuclear weapons.

Seeking to reach out to people across the border, he recalled his late wife Benazir Bhutto's [Images] lines -- "There is little of Indian in every Pakistani and a little of Pakistani in every Indian."

Zardari also favoured India and Pakistan rising as an 'economic block' like greater Europe.

On the Indo-Pak trade not being in 'full swing', Zardari said he himself was looking for a time-frame for it and mooted opening the movie industry first.

Remembering his late wife, he said: "Spiritually, I feel her to be around all the time".

Zardari said that borders be made accessible and favoured issuance of 'e-cards' which could be swiped at the border to enter each other's territory.

"The PPP government had long followed a hands-off policy towards India and it will continue," he told a questioner who sought to know whether India could expect peaceful elections in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] in the remaining phases.

On participating in anti-piracy operations alongside India, Zardari said Pakistan was a "small country" and would join with the "little bit" if asked for.

On the financial crisis in Pakistan, he admitted that the country was going through 'troubling times' and has approached the International Monetary Fund for help.




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