Islamabad: Pakistan has conveyed to the United States that it will not allow any hot pursuit into its territory, and that any such move would have disastrous consequences for bilateral relations, according to a news report.
Pakistan sent out this warning after anticipating a unilateral US action against the Haqqani network following Islamabad’s refusal to launch a military operation against the terror group allegedly based in North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan Today reports.
Responding to fresh US demands, including that from US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen during his Friday’s meeting with Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani in Spain on the sidelines of a NATO conference, Pakistan has made it clear that North Waziristan operation was not possible in the near future.
The message has been conveyed to the US civilian and military authorities by General Kayani and other Pakistani officials, despite immense American pressure for an offensive in North Waziristan in the wake of a recent deadly attack on US embassy compound in Kabul and some other acts of subversion in Afghanistan, which Washington blames on the Haqqani network.
“Pakistani authorities are seriously concerned that just like the covert raid to kill Osama bin Laden, the US could resort to unilateral action against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan or anywhere else in the tribal areas where they believe the leaders of this group are currently present,” a paper quoted a diplomatic source, as saying on the condition of anonymity.
He said Pakistan’s refusal to launch an immediate military operation in North Waziristan, because of its own constraints, had not gone down well with US authorities.
It was well illustrated by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s strong reaction, in which he hinted at a “hot pursuit” against the Haqqani network on Pakistani soil, he added.
“The Pakistani leadership has, however, refused to budge to all US pressure and has rather warned the Americans to refrain from unilateral military action on Pakistan’s soil, as it will have disastrous ramifications for the ties between Islamabad and Washington,” the source said.
According to the report, a security official did not confirm or deny Pakistan’s warning to the US, but said that following Panetta’s statement, Pakistani security circles anticipated a unilateral action by the US and it had caused deep resentment among them.
"Time and again we`ve urged the Pakistanis to exercise their influence over these kinds of attacks from the Haqqanis, and we have made very little progress in that area," Panetta said. "I`m not going to talk about how we`re going to respond. ... We`re not going to allow these types of attacks to go on," Panetta had told reporters travelling with him to San Francisco for meetings with Australian officials.