Don't ask us to do more: Pak

Gilani says Islamabad will not bow to US pressure to step up fight against terror

 “Pressure cannot be put on Pakistan to do more (in the war on terrorism). Our national interests must be respected under all circumstances,” Gilani said while opening a meeting of the country’s political leadership that he convened to forge a consensus response to tensions with the US.

The premier rejected allegations by senior US officials, including military chief Adm Mike Mullen, linking the Inter- Services Intelligence agency to the Haqqani network and recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, saying these accusations were a cause of concern for Pakistan.

ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha told the meeting that any unilateral US military action against militants in Pakistan will be “unacceptable” and the country’s armed forces have the capability to respond to such a strike. There was no official word on Pasha’s briefing.

Briefing the politicians about the security situation and challenges facing Islamabad, Pasha was quoted by the news channels as saying that “political, diplomatic and military channels” should be used to resolve differences between Pakistan and the US. Pakistan will not allow the situation to get to a “point of no return”, he was quoted as saying.

However, Pasha made it clear that any US attack within Pakistan in the name of fighting militants will be “unacceptable” and could trigger a “quick and equal response”, Express 24/7 channel quoted its sources as saying.

Mullen sticks to his guns

Meanwhile, the top US military officer stuck to his guns even as the White House and State Department sought to distance themselves from his remarks that Haqqani network was “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy agency.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN on Wednesday that elements in ISI were “very active” with the Haqqani network launching attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

Mullen’s remarks to the US Congress last week for the first time directly linking ISI with the militant group blamed for the attack on the US embassy in Kabul caused a diplomatic furore with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders, who have denied the a accusation.
Meanwhile, the White House distanced itself from the retiring officer’s statement.

Asked whether he agreed with Mullen that the Haqqani network was “a veritable arm” of the ISI, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters, “It’s not language I would use.”

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