Islamabad: Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza
Gilani on Thursday said his country would not succumb to any
external pressure to launch a military operation in the North
Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan, asserting that
no one can `dictate us` on the when and where of things.
Pakistan has been under pressure from the US to launch
a military operation in North Waziristan on the lines of the
one it carried out in Swat, but it has remained non-committal.
Speaking in the National Assembly or lower house of
the parliament, Gilani said Pakistan will not accept any
pressure from the US or any other country to launch a military
operation against militants in the restive tribal region.
"We can sacrifice our lives for the defence and
security of the country, so no one should have the impression
that they can dictate when military operations should be
conducted in North Waziristan and South Waziristan," he said.
The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan in recent
months to launch a military action in North Waziristan, which
senior American military officials have described as a safe
haven for Taliban and al Qaeda elements.
Observers have said Pakistan is reluctant to act
against militant networks in the region as they have close
links to the security establishment and only target US and
allied forces across the border in Afghanistan.
"I want to tell the House that the decision will be
made by Pakistan on where to conduct a military action. No one
can dictate to us," he said in response to concerns expressed
by parliamentarians about pressure from the US to move troops
into the lawless North Waziristan tribal region.
Gilani, however, made it clear that his government
would act wherever its writ is challenged by militants, as it
did in the northwestern Swat valley last year.
Describing the impression that Pakistan launches
military actions on the dictates of "American or foreign
elements" as wrong, he said there will be "no compromise on
the sovereignty and integrity of the country".
The government has taken all sections of the political
leadership, both within and outside the parliament, into
confidence before launching operations against militants in
areas like Swat, Malakand and South Waziristan, he said.
"No section of the political leadership will say it
favours terrorism, all are opposed to it. The whole nation is
standing up against terrorism like a wall because it has
spoiled our economy," he added. Pakistan`s economy is closely linked to law and order,
"Even if there is one suicide attack, there is a
flight of capital and there is no investment coming to
Pakistan," he pointed out.
"The agenda of the government from day one is economy
and law and order, and both are inter-related. The war on
terrorism is not being conducted under external pressure, it
is our own problem," Gilani remarked.
Responding to concerns expressed by lawmakers about
Balochistan, Gilani said there is "foreign interference" in
the southwestern province and all political parties are
responsible for framing a better strategy to tackle the