Pakistan’s survival lies in good ties with India: Zardari


New Delhi : Asif Ali Zardari, husband of assassinated former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has said that the survival of Pakistan lay in having good relations with India.

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“Therein lies the survival of Pakistan,” Zardari told Tehelka newsmagazine in an interview to be published in their forthcoming edition.

Elaborating further, he said: “India should play a bigger role. Being the bigger power in the region, (it) carries a larger responsibility because any upheaval, any Balkanisation, any Talibanisation, any warlord-like situation in Pakistan would directly affect India.”

Zardari was nominated co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after Bhutto’s assassination last month.

On the anointing of his 19-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as Benazir’s successor and PPP chairperson, he drew parallels with India’s political history.

“Indiraji got trained by Nehru saab and he was the greatest master she could have had. She trained Rajiv and Sanjay and then Rajiv, in turn, trained Rahul and Priyanka. You have to give them their due for learning at the feet of the masters.”

When asked about his carrying the legacy of Benazir, Zardari said: “The first challenge is to win elections.”

Placing the current turmoil in Pakistan in historical context, he said: “We have been on the faultline of the world. With terrorism becoming the war of the future, time and people have managed to bring the war to our borders.”

Zardari called on the US to “help Pakistan get a fine democracy so that we can be equal and helpful partners in the world community”.

Asked about his wish to emulate Sonia Gandhi, who heads India’s ruling coalition, he said she was a “much bigger figure than I could ever hope to be. She’s earned her spurs and has guided the largest democracy in the world. I am merely starting, so I can’t possibly hope or wish to compare myself to a great lady like that.”