PM condemns terrorist bombing in Pakistan

Monday 22 September 2008, 5:52PM
By Rt. Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister Helen Clark today expressed concern and sadness at the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city, on Saturday evening (Pakistan time). The death toll from the bombing is now over 40 and still rising.

"New Zealand offers its sympathy to the people and government of Pakistan at this sad time. I know this is also a very worrying time for members of the Pakistani community in New Zealand, who fear for their loved ones, friends, and communities at home.

"New Zealand condemns such acts of terrorism without reservation. They are horrific and cowardly acts causing death and misery to innocent people.

"New Zealand and Pakistan have a longstanding relationship, through the Commonwealth. We welcomed the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, and its return as a full participant in the Commonwealth family. I have written to President Zardari to congratulate him on his election.

"We recognise, however, that Pakistan has difficult challenges ahead of it. Its problems with internal terrorism, and the insecurity and instability in the border area with Afghanistan, are key concerns for Pakistan and the wider international community.

"The Minister of Defence and Disarmament and Arms Control, Phil Goff, will meet with Pakistan's Foreign Minister in New York this week. They are expected to discuss a range of security and international relations issues, including the problem of terrorism.

"New Zealand consular officials are not aware at this time of any New Zealanders having been caught up in the Islamabad bombing. Our currenttravel advisory continues to warn of the extreme risk of travel to Pakistan," Helen Clark said.