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Pakistan Can Look Any Country In The Eyes On National Interest: Gilani

PTI 29 Aug 2011, 13:40:36 IST

Lahore, August 29:   Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said that Pakistan was a powerful country and could look at any country in the eyes on its national interest.

Addressing a press conference, the Prime Minister said that safeguarding national interest was of supreme importance for his government.

He said that Pakistan wanted to maintain friendly relations with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest without compromising on each other's national interests.

Gilani said, “We have explained to the US government that if it is answerable to Congress, then we are equally accountable to the Parliament”.

To a query, the Prime Minister said there was no question of raising fingers at Pakistan's role in the fight against terrorism.

Because of strategic position, Pakistan had to take up the role of a frontline state role in the fight against terror, he said and added that Pakistan's intelligence agencies and the Central Intelligence Agency (of US) were working in close liaison with each other while both the countries had launched joint actions against high-level targets in the past.

Condemning the cross-border attack in Chitral, he said that the Foreign Office had protested to the Afghan government on the issue. Some elements did not want amicable relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and were creating disturbance, he added.

He said Pakistan was in the middle of the fight against terrorism and expressed the hope relations between the two neighbouring countries would strengthen in the near future.

About Al-Qaeda links in the security forces, Gilani said Pakistan's security agencies were immensely efficient.
Terrorism and extremism were a global phenomenon as well as a global threat which had to be addressed jointly through capacity building of each other, he added.

Responding to a question on the law and order situation in Karachi, he said that extremism and terrorism were major threats to the country and that the law and order situation in Karachi was a spill-over of the Afghan war.

He said that successful operation of the law enforcement agencies in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Swat and Malakand had dispersed the terrorists who turned to soft targets like girls' schools, shopping malls, public places and intelligence headquarters in order to cause collateral damage to life and property.

The Prime Minister said the situation of Karachi was also a reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abottabad operation.

To another question, he did not rule the involvement of some foreign hands in Balochistan and Karachi incidents.