Policy Statement of the Prime Minister
Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani made following policy statement in the Donors Conference in Islamabad today:
The propaganda blitz against Pakistan is indeed most unfortunate. It vitiates the atmosphere and is counterproductive. It tends to ignore the sacrifices by the people of Pakistan and negates all that we have endeavoured to achieve over the last so many years. More than 35,000 Pakistanis have fallen victim to the acts of terrorism and many more have been injured.
We have taken resolute action against terrorists and militants. We have done so in our national interest. The United States knows very well the full account of large number of Al-Qaida operatives that were interdicted, captured and killed by our security forces. Terrorists are targeting innocent civilians, bombing our markets and places of worship and carrying out targeted assassinations against security and law-enforcement personnel.
The allegations betray a confusion and policy disarray within the US establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan. Clearly, there is concern over the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan. Recent attacks in Kabul including on the US Embassy were disquieting. We condemn these attacks. I was in Kabul recently to convey our condolences and express solidarity with people and leadership of Afghanistan on the tragic assassination of Professor Rabbani.
There is the need for close policy coordination between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US. We need to develop a clear and coherent strategy together. A clear roadmap so that all three i.e. Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US are on the same page and work together for achieving the stated goal of reconciliation and peace. It is with this in view that we established the Trilateral Core Group which has met four times.
Clarity and strategic coherence would lead to the necessary operational policy coordination. Realities and the dynamics of the situation on the ground also need to be objectively factored. It is with this in view that we consistently signalled closer and deeper engagement with the US and Afghanistan.
Blame-game is self-defeating. We strongly reject assertions of complicity with the Haqqanis or of proxy war. It will only benefit the enemies of peace. Only terrorists and militants will gain from any fissures and divisions. Pakistan’s credentials and sacrifices in the counter-terrorism campaign are impeccable and unquestionable.
Several countries have maintained direct contacts with the Haqqanis. Singling out Pakistan is not fair. Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the security of US NATO/ISAF forces in Afghanistan. While there have been terrorist attacks in Kabul and Wardak, there have also been numerous attacks on Pakistan launched from sanctuaries and safe heavens in Nooristan and Kunar in Afghanistan.
It is as much the responsibility of the Afghan National Army, NATO and ISAF not to allow such cross-border militancy. Joint operations and coordination are essential. Let’s be objective and not get carried away by emotions.
In our recent interaction with the United States, including Foreign Minister’s meeting with the Secretary of State, as well as at the military and intelligence tracks, we have emphasized the need for deeper engagement. However, this can only take place on the basis of mutual respect. Let’s avoid mutual recrimination and recommit ourselves to working together for eliminating terrorism and for reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan. Prosperous, stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s national interests will guide our policy.
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Haji Ahmed Malik
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