`Pak to forgo request for US military hardware for energy aid`
Washington: Pakistan`s powerful Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said the military was willing to forgo its request for hardware from the US to ensure that the country`s energy and economic needs are met.
"I told Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar that in order to make sure that Pakistan`s economy and energy needs are met, we are willing to forgo the military equipment that we have asked for," Kayani told the Pakistani media at Islamabad`s embassy here yesterday.
"The most important concerns for Pakistan today are economy and energy and we have emphasised that with the American administration, that these are the needs that need to be met," the Army chief said.
Kayani also said there had been a "marked change" in the US attitude towards Pakistan because of the army`s success in operations against militants in South Waziristan tribal region and the Swat valley.
The Pakistan Army chief met the two Senators earlier this week when he arrived in Washington for the two-day strategic dialogue, which concluded yesterday.
Kayani also said he had told American lawmakers that if the US helps correct Pakistan`s economic and power issues, the country would not require anything else and would be able to take care of itself.
“Today Pakistan is being respected and listened to because the nation has fully backed the Pakistani armed forces," he contended.
The Army`s role is to implement decisions taken by the political government, he said.
Kayani said that was why he told Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani three days after he assumed office that "take a decision and we would implement it”.
He said Pakistan had made it clear to the US that the country`s role would not only be of delivering on goals. "Pakistan has to be relevant and given equal importance."
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