Pak to revise policies on national issues: Gilani

Gilani mentioned in passing that the Kashmir dispute was among these issues but did not give details of how the government intended to revise its policies.

Last Updated: Dec 04, 2011, 20:22 PM IST

Lahore: The Pakistan government plans to
revise its policies on key national and outstanding issues,
including relations with the US, the war on terror and the
Kashmir dispute, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday.

The government will revise the `terms of engagement" for
these issues, including policies that were framed during the
regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Gilani said
during an interaction with a group of reporters at the State
Guest House.

Gilani mentioned in passing that the Kashmir dispute was
among these issues but did not give details of how the
government intended to revise its policies.

He said the review would include key issues like
Pakistan`s role in the war on terror and the country`s
cooperation with the US and NATO.

The change in policy had become necessary in the
aftermath of the cross-border NATO attack that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers on November 26, he remarked.

"As the Pakistan People`s Party-led government and the
entire political and military leadership has considered this
issue as an opportunity, we will revise all previous terms of
engagement as part of the country`s new strategy to fight
terrorism," Gilani said.

"And after having the terms of engagement revised, we
will make new terms of engagement with the US and NATO," he
said while responding to several questions.

Pakistan responded angrily to the NATO air strike by
closing all routes used to transport supplies to American and
allied forces in Afghanistan and asking the US to vacate the
Shamsi airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones, within
15 days.

Islamabad also decided the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan
to protest the attack.

Gilani said his government will use parliament to develop
uniform policies on key national issues by taking all
stakeholders on board.

Parliament is the best forum to frame national policies
through debate and discussion, he noted.

National issues like relations with the US and NATO, the
Kashmir dispute and the nuclear programme have a direct
bearing on Pakistan`s sovereignty and security and will be
debated in parliament to evolve national consensus, he said.

"We will formulate policies reflecting the aspirations of
the people," he said.

Gilani said the objective behind boycotting the Bonn
Conference was to devise a fresh and uniform policy to deal
with national issues in future in the light of the challenges
facing the country.

Referring to the controversy over a secret memo sent to
the US military in May, Gilani said his government had taken
the right steps to handle this issue, including calling back
Pakistan`s former envoy to Washington, Husain Haqqani, getting
his resignation and handing over the matter to a parliamentary
committee to probe it thoroughly.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had filed a petition in the
Supreme Court on the "Memogate" issue of his own free will, he
said.

"It is Nawaz Sharif`s basic right to go to court but
frankly we don`t know what he wants to achieve through his
action," he added.

Memogate was not a big issue but it had been "blown out
of proportion", Gilani contended.

However, had democracy in Pakistan fully matured, there
would have been no need to go the apex court as such issues
could have been deliberated in parliament, he said.

Responding to a question, he said democracy in Pakistan
would have been strengthened and stabilised long ago if there
had not been frequent military interventions.

Recalling Musharraf`s decision to "bow" to the US after
the 9/11 attacks, Gilani said democracy in Pakistan was "no
longer a one-man show`.

Pakistan`s nuclear assets were in safe hands under a
comprehensive command and control system with the prime
minister as the overall in-charge, he said.

PTI