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Prime Minister Gilani’s Opening Statement at the outset of the Cabinet Meeting

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Islamabad: Before start of formal proceedings of the Cabinet meeting, Fateha for Late Mr. Hakim Ali Zardari, a seasoned politician, close associate of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, an Ex-MNA and Chairman of PAC was offered. The Cabinet also offered Fateha for all those who embraced Shahadat in the recent attack on PNS Mehran, CID Station Peshawar and District Administration Offices in Hangu.

The Prime Minister paid rich tribute on behalf of the Cabinet to those who sacrificed their lives during the terrorist attack at the Mehran Naval Base. As a nation, he said, “we are proud of the courage and valour with which the Jawans of Navy, Rangers and Police tried to defend the strategic naval installations and properties”.

The Prime Minister described that during his visit to the hospital, he was touched to see the spirit of our Jawans who remarked that it would have been better had they also embraced Shahadat. They even went to the extent of saying that if terrorists were bent upon suicide attacks they are ready for countering these with Shahadat, he mentioned.

The Prime Minister declared that with this kind of determination no force can ever demoralize us in defending our homeland. Nefarious designs of the terrorists, their collaborators will be foiled, he reiterated. He observed that the challenges confronting our country today, require greater unity among the people and leaders across the political divide.

In an especially convened meeting of the DCC, the Prime Minister apprised that it has been decided to make coordinated efforts to prevent and pre-empt acts of terrorism. He stated that the defence and law enforcement agencies have been directed to use all necessary means to eliminate terrorists and militants.

The Prime Minister also apprised the Cabinet that the security situation arising from terrorist attacks and the issues relating to regional security and stability came under review in the DCC, which expressed its full confidence in the ability of the Armed Forces, law enforcement and intelligence agencies to meet the threats to national security. Let there be no doubt about our resolve to eliminate terrorism and militancy in the country, he reiterated.

The Prime Minister informed the Cabinet about his visit to China which was very important as it coincided with the 60th Anniversary of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China. He observed that the visit reinvigorated an already cordial, multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the areas of Strategic Cooperation, Defence, Trade, Economics, Investment, Science and Technology, Culture, Education and People-to-People Contacts. He informed the Cabinet that in-depth and detailed talks with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders were held on issues of vital interest. The Chinese leadership reiterated its undiluted, unequivocal and principled support to Pakistan’s stance and strategy in the fight against terrorism, he added.

The Prime Minister stated that the Chinese leadership apprised him that even without Pakistan’s asking, the Chinese Vice Premier and State Counsellor for Foreign Affairs, who attended the recent China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington DC, had urged the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; to recognize Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terror; and to help Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and extremism, and give it complete support. China has also called upon the international community to help Pakistan in its endeavours to combat Extremism and Terrorism, he informed.

The Prime Minister apprised the Cabinet about his affirmation to the Chinese leadership that Pakistan would never allow its territory to be used to attack any country and would continue to support international counter – terrorism cooperation. He added that he also emphasized Pakistan’s firm commitment to the one-China policy and assured extending support for the cause of China’s unification.

The Prime Minister observed that in these testing times it is imperative that we maintain unity among our ranks and not let despondency take hold on the minds of our people. I am sure together we will overcome the challenges we face today, he added.

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