I have faith in resilience of Pakistani people: Pranab Mukherjee


New Delhi : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that he has “tremendous faith” in the “resilience” of the Pakistani people and the system to overcome the current crisis and prevent the country from spiralling into more violence.

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“I am quite confident of the resilience of the system and the people of Pakistan. I do hope they will overcome this crisis,” Mukherjee told Karan Thapar’s “Devil’s Advocate” programme for CNN-IBN to be telecast Sunday.

He added that that in “different places there have been different types of problems in the history of Pakistan but somehow or other the people of Pakistan and the system there, they have managed the situation”.

“And let us hope (it happens again),” he said.

But, he steered clear of crystal ball gazing on the Pakistan situation, stating, “Only (the) future can show what course of action will be taken by the establishment or people of Pakistan”.

However, he admitted that while there was an “element of unpredictability”, he could not state that the “situation will turn around in a positive manner and I have tremendous faith in the resilience of the Pakistani people to manage their crisis.”

Mukherjee accepted that if there was instability in Pakistan, it could have an adverse impact on India, but he was not willing to reach a “definitive conclusion”.

“What I’m saying is let us watch the situation and hope that Pakistan will be able to address the problems and stability will be brought back,” he said, adding that there was “no special group or group of experts to watch developments in Pakistan” on behalf of the government.

“Our advice to the security forces has always been, be on alert and maintain your vigil… but let us not link it with the turmoil in the country because the terrorist activity from the other side of the border has never completely stopped,” Mukherjee added.

He was extremely circumspect on opining on President Pervez Musharraf and said, “We ought to deal with whoever is in office in Pakistan. Therefore we don’t make any value judgement of any individual.”

To a question if Pakistan was in danger of breaking up, Mukherjee said, “I’m not coming to any such conclusion.”

Speaking about assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Mukherjee noted that she had “a sincere desire to improve the relationship between India and Pakistan”.

He added that India decided not to attend her funeral, as it did not want to “embarrass the (Pakistani) authorities and listened to their advice”.