China daily carries Gilani interview sans controversy

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 00:30

Beijing: China`s official media today carried
a recent controversial interview of Pakistan Premier Yousuf
Raza Gilani, but omitted his leaked remarks questioning the
legality of the stand of the chiefs of army and ISI over the
memo issue that had triggered a major political crisis.

Reports from Islamabad earlier this month had quoted
Gilani as telling People`s Daily Online in a January 9
interview that any official action by a government functionary
without the prior approval of the government was
"unconstitutional and illegal."

He was questioning the legality of the response of chiefs
of army and ISI to the Supreme Court in connection with the
memo scandal without obtaining his government permission.

The daily today posted on it website the interview with
Gilani but did not carry the controversial remarks.

Gilani`s remarks on the issue, regarded as a major scoop
for the docile Chinese media, were conspicuously missing in
the video version posted on the website.

The Pakistan Premier`s comments, which were leaked soon
after the interview, had resulted in a stand-off between his
government and military following which the army-backed
Defence Secretary was sacked.

After days of tensions, the issue had been sorted out
following a patch up between the two sides.

The daily said the interview was recorded earlier this
month to be carried during the just-ended Chinese New Year.
About the Indo-Pak relations, Gilani said that Pakistan
wants to maintain good ties with India. For regional stability
there needs to be a greater cooperation.

"We want to have balance of trade between India and
Pakistan and that would be in the interest of both the
countries," Gilani said, adding that economic stability leads
to political stability.

"At same time we have some core issues with India which I
discussed with (Prime Minister) Dr Manmohan Singh on several
occasions."

The core issues, he said, included Kashmir and water,
adding that the Indian Prime Minister had agreed to discuss
all the issues.

In the interview, Gilani spoke about the tenuous
relations between the US the Pakistan, which nose-dived after
the November 26 NATO attack on a Pakistani post along the
Afghan border in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

He said Pakistan has paid a heavy price with the death of
over 30,000 people and 5,000 soldiers and policemen in
attempting to contain extremism and terrorism.

"We are against terrorism and extremism. We are playing
extremely important role for peace prosperity of whole world,"
he said.

He also referred to China`s concerns over militancy in
Xinjiang province due to tensions between Uyghur Muslims and
people from Han community.

"We are also mindful of the terrorism that is disturbing
peace in your (Chinese) area. We are committed and trying our
level best to contain terrorism and extremism so that
neighbours and our very good friend should not be disturbed.\

We will play a very positive role," he said.

With the US also, Gilani called for a relationship
similar to that Pakistan has with China, which he said was
based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Pakistan.

For Pakistan to support the US war on terror, Washington
should guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
Pakistan, assure that there will no unilateral action like the
one that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and recognise
the need for evolving a joint strategy based on parameters
approved by Pakistan Parliament, he said.

On the strategy over drone attacks on militant bases, he
said the US should provide information to Pakistan to act on
those targets.

"Only difference is on the drone strategy. We want any
actionable or credible information is shared with us," he
said.

Since ISI and CIA worked closely in the past in
successfully getting the high-value targets of al Qaeda
leaders, it should be continued, Gilani said.

"The same strategy should be worked out in future between
ISI and CIA so that we can do the action ourselves if the
information is shared with us. That would maintain full
support of masses," he said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 23:36

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