President Asif Ali Zardari has voiced full confidence in the stability of Pakistans present democratic set-up, saying neither the government nor Parliament were in any danger.The 18th Amendment to the Constitution is a reflection of the great maturity, I feel, democratic forces in Pakistan have achieved, he said when asked during an interview with NEWSWEEK whether the government was in danger of falling. U.S. reaction to the attempted Times Square bombing has been intense. What is the fallout for Pakistan? I dont think you should pay much heed to the rumor mills in Washington or Islamabad. [The accused would-be bomber], Faisal Shahzad, although of Pakistani origin, is an American national. There is no cure for badness. But the cooperation with the U.S. is good. Some voices in the West call for military action in North Waziristan, where Shahzad allegedly trained. One works with ones own game plan. We are fighting to save Pakistan. So were working on it with a map in our hand. I was in America when the Taliban took Buner [in April 2009], and the press took me to town. I told them well handle it, and we did. Wed like to know who is financing the Afghan Taliban, and whos financing the Pakistani Taliban. We havent got any closer to knowing that. Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks 2008, was convicted in India last month. Pakistan has called for his extradition. What happens next? Im a little disenchanted with India. I expected the largest democracy in the world to behave much more maturely. We are facing a threat on the eastern and western borders. This new-age terror has created a phenomenon where a few people can take entire states to war. The fact that these people happen to belong to Pakistan or India or Bangladesh is immaterial. They are nonstate actors, and states should behave like states. Have you become a hawk on India? I can never be a hawk. Im a liberal by nature and democrat by principles. War is never an option, as far as Im concerned. What is the U.S. attitude to Pakistan improving economic relations with Iran? There is no pressure from America to not pursue opportunities. You must have heard that Iran is willing to give us electricity. Where is the transmission line? Setting up a transmission line, youre talking four years. In four years, we can build hydroelectricity dams, and we intend to. We are looking forward to trading with all our neighbors. Nobody can put pressure on Pakistan for anything. We do what is in Pakistans interest. What do you consider some of your diplomatic successes? I think weve created an appetite in the world to look at the case of Pakistan from our eyes. Hence the locally evolved IMF package, extended aid to Pakistan, and new strategic dialogue with the U.S. Because weve managed to, I think, have these diplomatic successes, weve created a new vision of Pakistan as far as other countries are concerned. The press still remains cynical. The press in Pakistan has been very critical. Does this hamper governance? They hamper work in the sense that the capacity and time to deliver, to do more work for the country, get consumed elsewhere. But then thats part of governing in the developing world. Pakistan today is faced with such challenges that one needs to forget about most of our internal and our personal issues. If you do a needs assessment for the population and then take responsibility, lots of issues will look frivolous. Look at the bigger picture, like the war on terror, which tells you that the state is under threat. Is the government in danger of falling? I think all the political forces sitting today in Parliament have reinvented ourselves. The 18th Amendment [to the Constitution] is a reflection of the great maturity, I feel, democratic forces in Pakistan have achieved. But then, of course, we are all still politicians. Im an optimist to the core, and I dont think the government and Parliament are in any danger. (NEWSWEEK)