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
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.