Pak`s presence indispensable in war on terror: US
Last Updated: Sunday, October 02, 2011, 13:10
  
Islamabad: Amidst tensions between Islamabad and Washington over ISI-Haqqani network links, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said the US had sent a message that it needed Pakistan and that it could not win the war against terrorism without the country.

Gilani made the remarks while addressing a gathering in Bili Wala near his hometown of Multan in Punjab province.

He contended that the message from the US had come after he convened a meeting of all political parties to forge consensus on dealing with the tensions in bilateral relations.

He did not say when the message was conveyed to Pakistan.

"It is due to the all parties' conference as well as the unity of Pakistan's political leaders that the US has sent a message that they need Pakistan and that they cannot win the war (against terrorism) without Pakistan," he said.

"They have also distanced themselves from the statement of (former US military chief Admiral Mike) Mullen. This is the victory of the Pakistani nation, political parties and the government's policy of reconciliation," he said.

The successful holding of the meeting of all political parties was testimony to the fact that the people are united on the issue of Pakistan's security and defence, he remarked.

"We will never allow anyone to harbour bad thoughts about Pakistan's security. We do not desire war and want peace in the country and beyond. "Pakistan can play an important role in peace and we will do it," Gilani said.

Pakistan is ready to hold talks with everyone for peace and can go to any extent to achieve this objective, he said. "All the country's political forces stand shoulder to shoulder for Pakistan's security interests," he added.

Gilani made it clear that Pakistan will talk on the basis of equality and mutual respect while keeping in view its national interests.

He lauded the political leaders who responded positively to his call and sat together to discuss the issue of Pakistan's security while setting aside political differences.

Pakistan-US relations had plunged to a fresh low after Mullen accused the Inter-Services Intelligence agency of backing the Haqqani network in carrying out terror attacks in Afghanistan and described the Haqqani network as a "veritable arm" of the ISI.

Referring to the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, Gilani said President Hamid Karzai has "some misunderstandings" on the issue.

"I want to convey to President Hamid Karzai, who is my brother and friend and with whom we have good relations, that he has some misunderstandings on the assassination of Professor Rabbani," he remarked.

Noting that he visited Afghanistan to express his condolences over the assassination of Rabbani, Gilani said Pakistan is ready to provide any security or intelligence assistance in probing the killing.

"They (Afghans) cannot doubt us. Pakistanis are a self-respecting nation. Pakistan neither interferes in anyone's affairs nor allows anyone's interference in our affairs," he said.

Gilani's remarks came after the Afghan intelligence service said it had handed over evidence that Rabbani's assassination was planned in the southern outskirts of Quetta where key Taliban leaders are based.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, October 02, 2011, 13:10


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