ISI is working with CIA, what else?: Gilani



ISI is working with CIA, what else?: Gilani London: Weeks into new dialogue with the US on resetting relations, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said his nation was still operating on a trust deficit with Washington.

"There's a trust deficit between both the countries, between both the governments," Gilani, who is here on a five-day visit, said as his fate at home hangs in balance.

"That is the reason we are wanting to work for new terms of engagement and cooperation with the United States," he told CNN here.

Pakistan has been a key US ally, but relations between the two nations have been strained in recent months, especially after last year's killing of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil and a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Amid a lack of harmony, the Obama administration has said it is not convinced Pakistan is pulling its weight. At the end of an Asia tour on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan ought to do more in fighting extremism.

Gilani countered that his country was doing all it could in partnership with the United States.

"If there is any credible, actionable information, please share with us, because are already working with you," he said.

"My ISI is working with the CIA. What else do you want?"

The ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, is Pakistan's powerful spy agency, which some US officials have charged is protecting militant groups.

Asked how relations between the two nations improve, Gilani replied, "One point....That is mutual respect and mutual interest."

A lack of trust is not the only stain marring a critical relationship. Pakistan has said it wants an end to US drone strikes on its territory, and Gilani made the point again.

"We always take drones as counterproductive, and it's not lawful," Gilani said.

Gilani was convicted last month of contempt for his refusal to revive old corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari with predictions that a conviction would plunge Pakistan into crisis, perhaps even spark another military coup.

But, Gilani remained confidant and defiant, saying that only Parliament had the right to force him from office.

"If I'm disqualified, notified by the speaker, then yes I have to," he said about leaving his job.

Pakistan's Supreme Court issued a detailed verdict on Tuesday that made it clear it held Gilani in contempt of court for defying the highest judiciary in the land.

Gilani defended himself, saying, "Whatever I have done is according to the Constitution. It is not on any moral turpitude or financial corruption."

Gilani said Pakistan is "waiting" to get concrete information and evidence on JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, before any action can be taken against him.

"We are waiting for some concrete sort of information and evidence," he said when asked why Pakistan has not yet arrested Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) founder considered to be the mastermind behind Mumbai 2008 attacks.

When asked how he would respond to Hillary's remark that the Pakistani government should do more to root out terrorism, Gilani said, "I think now is the time that they should do more."

PTI