Categorized | Pakistan & Kashmir

Pakistani PM Gilani–US Drone strikes are attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said that Pakistan desired relations with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and interest without compromising its national sovereignty.

In an interview with Jim Middleton of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s programme Newsline, the prime minister said the two countries were working as partners for the common goal of fighting extremism and terrorism. He was asked whether the relations between the two countries were returning to normal after the deadly strike that killed scores of Pakistani soldiers along the Pak-Afghan border.

Gilani termed the United States an important country and said Pakistan did not wish to spoil its relations with it. Gilani said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security had already prepared recommendations for new terms of engagement and cooperation with the United States, ISAF and NATO.

About the unilateral drone strikes, the prime minister said that Pakistan considered these attacks against its sovereignty and pointed that the people also saw it as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and against the people. He said the matter had been raised with the US authorities.

When questioned about the success of the drone attacks in decapitating al Qaeda leaders, he said it was besides the point, the matter was of the sovereignty of the country.

He said Pakistan and the United States had cooperation in defence and intelligence but stressed that actionable and credible intelligence was needed to be passed on to Pakistan for action.

The prime minister said no war could be won without the support of the masses and to win a war it was essential to get the support of the entire nation and the backing of the people of Pakistan.

About the relations with Afghanistan, he said both the countries had suffered a lot in the war against terrorism and said they should work together to fight their common enemy.

Gilani said Afghanistan’s stability was vital for Pakistan’s sability and said Pakistan desired its neighbour to be stable as it was in the interest of Pakistan’s sovereignty. He said it would also bring prosperity to the entire region.

The prime minister said both the countries had suffered a lot and the world now realised the importance of Pakistan as being “part of the solution and not part of the problem”.

He said that political reconciliation was the only answer for stability in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as military operations did not offer permanent solution to any problem.

About winning a majority in the Senate, he said, the government was moving in the right direction for a victory. When asked whether the government faced any challenge from Imran Khan or saw him as a formidable threat, Gilani said “He is nowhere near as we have a two-thirds majority in the Upper House and the National Assembly, with the help of our coalition partners.”

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