Pakistan’s top diplomat outlined a strategy for battling terrorism Wednesday that emphasizes going-it-alone militarily within Pakistani borders and talking with opponents if they lay down their arms.
The government’s new "roadmap" also includes a media campaign to explain the importance to Pakistan’s people of winning the war against extremists in tribal areas around neighboring Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
Pakistan’s fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida militants comes years after Pakistani intelligence helped create the Taliban militia. Pakistan also was one of the few countries that gave diplomatic recognition to the Taliban’s fundamentalist rule in Afghanistan.
"We are willing to take on the Taliban because we feel the Taliban are imposing a way of life on Pakistan that is not acceptable," Qureshi told 250 people during an hour-long speech at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "We’ve agreed on a roadmap for the next few months."
He stressed that Pakistan will now "engage politically with the moderates, those who are willing to give up arms" and will "concentrate on the social, economic development" of the tribal belt.