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Karzai calls Gilani; asks him to rethink boycott

A special meeting of the cabinet chaired by Gilani decided to boycott the Bonn Conference.

Updated: Nov 30, 2011, 00:46 AM IST

Islamabad: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
on Tuesday requested Pakistan to reconsider its decision to boycott
the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, saying the country`s
absence at the meet "would not be helpful to efforts" to
restore peace in the region.

Karzai made the request when he made a telephone call to
Gilani this afternoon to convey his condolences on the death
of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border NATO air strike
from Afghanistan on Saturday.

A special meeting of the cabinet chaired by Gilani decided
to boycott the Bonn Conference, which will discuss the future
of Afghanistan, to protest the NATO attack.

Responding to Karzai`s request, Gilani asked how Pakistan
"could play a constructive role" when its "sovereignty and
territorial integrity (were being) violated from Afghan soil",
said a statement from the Prime Minister`s House.

Karzai referred to reports about Pakistan`s decision not
to participate in the Conference and requested Gilani to
reconsider the move as the meeting was being held for peace
and stability in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan`s absence from the meet to be held on
December 5 "would not be helpful to efforts aimed at bringing
about peace in Afghanistan".

Gilani noted that Pakistan had been providing "complete
cooperation" for peace and stability in Afghanistan but
expressed "his deepest regret on the use of Afghan soil for
attacking Pakistan’s sovereignty".

He said the death of the Pakistani soldiers had "enraged"
the people.

Angered by the air strike, the Pakistan government shut
down all NATO supply routes and asked the US to vacate Shamsi
airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones, within 15

Gilani told Karzai that "several cross-border attacks were
launched into Pakistani territory in the past and scores of
Pakistan`s security personnel lost their lives".

He said these attacks were a "clear violation of
international law and the NATO/ISAF mandate".

"The recurrence of such incidents would definitely narrow
down the political space for the government, where the
country’s own sovereignty was at stake," Gilani said.