`Pak won’t take action against Haqqani network`

The decision in this regard was taken at a special meeting of the Corps Commanders chaired by Pak Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2011, 11:13 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan will not take military
action against the Haqqani network despite growing US pressure, even as the country`s top military commanders have agreed on the need to de-escalate the situation, according to
media reports Monday.

These decisions were made at a special meeting of the
Corps Commanders chaired by Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani yesterday.

The commanders vowed to resist US demands for an
offensive against the Haqqanis in North Waziristan but also
discussed possible implications of unilateral action by the US
on Pakistani territory, a military official was quoted as
saying by The Express Tribune.

The decision is "likely to chip away at the deteriorating
relationship between the two countries", the report said.

"We have already conveyed to the US that Pakistan cannot
go beyond what it has already done," the military official
said.

However, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying
that the meeting of the Corps Commanders, probably the first
held on a Sunday, had agreed on the need to de-escalate the
situation.

The meeting held on a holiday "reflected the seriousness
of the crisis" created by a series of allegations by US
officials and a source told the daily that de-escalation
efforts were afoot.

"Escalation is harmful. In the cost-benefit analysis,
there appears to be no benefit of a confrontation," the source
said. The Dawn too reported that "there was nothing to suggest
that the army had agreed to act against the Haqqani network
under US pressure".

There was no official word from the military on
deliberations at yesterday`s six-hour meeting.

Before the meeting got underway, a brief statement had said Gen Kayani had called a special meeting to "discuss the prevailing security situation".

Tensions between the two sides have spiked since US
military chief Adm Mike Mullen alleged last week that
Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence agency had backed the
Haqqani network in carrying out several attacks in
Afghanistan.

Kayani rejected the accusation as "not based on facts".

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday asked Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to cut short her visit to the US
and to return to Pakistan to participate in a meeting of the
top political leadership that will assess the tensions between
the two sides.

At the same time, the Pakistan Army publicly acknowledged
its contacts with the Haqqani network, apparently confirming
that the security establishment has no intention to go after
one of the most feared Taliban factions.

"Any intelligence agency would like to maintain contact
with whatever opposition group, whatever terrorist
organisation?for some positive outcome," chief military
spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told CNN.

Such contacts do not mean the ISI supports or endorses
the organisation, he said.

"If someone is blaming us (as) the only country
maintaining contacts with the Haqqanis, there are others,
too," he said.

Responding to the possibility of unilateral US strikes in
North Waziristan, Abbas said that any such action would fuel
anti-US sentiments in Pakistan.

PTI