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President Karzai Visits Pakistan, Condemns Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

 

On December 26, President Hamid Karzai traveled to Pakistan on the invitation of President Pervez Musharraf. It was their first meeting since August’s peace jirga in Afghanistan. In private meetings and a state dinner, the leaders discussed security cooperation, intelligence sharing, trade and other bilateral issues.

President Karzai and President Musharraf pledged better cooperation in fighting terrorism.

"We have developed a strong understanding of each other's problems," said President Musharraf. "The key to enhancing our capability against terrorists and extremists is intelligence cooperation."

"It is incumbent upon us -- the leadership of the two countries, the governments -- to find ways to bring peace and stability to each home, each family, in both countries," said President Karzai.

President Karzai also met with Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, Leader of the Pakistan People's Party and former Prime Minister, shortly before her assassination by terrorists in Rawalpindi. Mrs. Bhutto told President Karzai that she hoped for peace, democracy and good relations for Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Karzai, on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, expressed his deepest sympathies and condolences to members of her family and to the people of Pakistan, and issued the following statement:

“I have learnt with shock that Benazir Bhutto the daughter of Pakistan and of the Muslim World has been martyred in an attack of cowardice and brutality by, those, whoever they are certainly the enemies of prosperity and peace and of the well-being of Pakistan and of the Muslim World. I met with her this morning I found her to be a very, very brave woman, with a clear vision for her own country, for Afghanistan, and for the region, the vision of democracy and prosperity and peace.

“I am deeply sorry, deeply pained, this brave sister of ours, brave daughter of the Muslim world is no longer with us. I spoke to Mr Asef Zardari, her husband, earlier and conveyed my grief and my condolences to him and through him to her children, to her family. I also conveyed my deep grief and sorrow to the people of Pakistan, to the people of the Muslim World. We, in Afghanistan, condemn this act of cowardice and immense brutality in the strongest possible terms; she sacrificed her life for the sake of Pakistan, and for the sake of this region. I found in her this morning a lot of love and desire for peace in Afghanistan, for prosperity in Afghanistan, and for Afghanistan and Pakistan that would be happy, prosperous and have good relations with each other. This is a big loss for all of us, and I once again convey my condolences for this immense loss to the people of Pakistan for they have a lost the daughter of Pakistan.”

Upon his return to Kabul, President Karzai issued an order for the Afghanistan national flag to be flown at half mast across the country and abroad. The Afghanistan national flag will be flown at half mast for 24 hours on December 29 as a mark of respect for the martyrdom of Mrs. Bhutto, and sympathy with the people of Pakistan.

 

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