Pak for conditional intelligence exchange with US
Last Updated: Friday, June 10, 2011, 19:06
Islamabad: In sign of changing dynamics of US-Pak military ties post-Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's powerful Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has laid down conditions for intelligence sharing with the Americans.

He also brushed aside possibility of a full scale military operation in North Waziristan at this stage under pressure from the US.

A meeting of the Pakistan Army's Corps Commanders chaired by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani yesterday decided to share intelligence with the US "strictly on the basis of reciprocity and complete transparency".

"It has been clearly put across to US intelligence officials that no intelligence agency can be allowed to carry out independent operation on our soil," said an unusually detailed statement issued by the military after the meeting of the army's top commanders yesterday.

Kayani informed his commanders that military to military relationship with the US has to be viewed within the larger ambit of bilateral relations between the two countries.

It had to be assessed afresh in the backdrop of May 2 incident (when unilateral raid by US killed bin Laden) as well as the dictates of the Joint Parliamentary Resolution passed on May 14, the statement said adding aspirations of the people of Pakistan also need to be taken into account.

"In line with the demands of these important factors, Army has drastically cut down the strength of US troops stationed in Pakistan.

It needs to be clarified that Army had never accepted any training assistance from the US except for training on the newly inducted weapons and some training assistance for the Frontier Corps only. Even that has ceased now," it said.

Talking about the reports of looming military operation in North Waziristan under pressure from the US, the statement said, "COAS (Kayani) informed the participants that the Army was following a well thought out campaign plan and is under no pressure to carry out operations at a particular time.

"Future operations, as and when undertaken, will be with political consensus."

But the statement hinted at a possible change of tactics for dealing with the North Waziristan problem.

Kayani called upon the "people of NWA (North Waziristan Agency) to evict all foreigners from their soil and take charge of their land and destiny once again.

"He emphasised that it was wrong, in principle, to allow others to use our land for fighting their battles. This must not be allowed. Army in NWA is committed to supporting the people of NWA in this effort."

With Kayani calling on tribesmen to evict foreigners, it appeared that he wanted to utilise the services of loyal tribes to force the foreigners out instead of pitting the army against the militants, the influential Dawn daily said today.

"He emphasised that it was wrong, in principle, to allow others to use our land for fighting their battles. This must not be allowed," it said.

North Wazirstan is home to many terror groups including the deadly Taliban and the Haqani network. On numerous occasions, US has stressed on the need to flush out the militants from this area. However, Pakistan has been hesitant as some of the groups have ties to the Army.

Meanwhile, Kayani also said economic rather than military aid was more essential for Pakistan.

"In line with the position taken in Pak-US strategic dialogue in Mar 2010, it is being recommended to the Government that the US funds meant for military assistance to Army, be diverted towards economic aid to Pakistan which can be used for reducing the burden on the common man," the statement said.

It also said the participants noted with regret that despite briefing the Joint Session of the Parliament and deferring the ultimate findings to the Commission appointed by the Government over the May 2 Abbottabad incident, "some quarters, because of their perceptual biases, were trying to deliberately run down the Armed Forces and Army in particular."

It said this is an effort to drive a wedge between the Army, different organs of the State and more seriously, the people of Pakistan.

"COAS noted that in order to confront the present challenges, it is critical to stand united as a Nation. Any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the Country is not in our national interest. The participants agreed that all of us should take cognisance of this unfortunate trend and put an end to it," the statement said.


First Published: Friday, June 10, 2011, 19:06

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