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ISI-CIA relations have now been repaired: PM Gilani

30 May, 2011

ISI-CIA relations have now been repaired: PM Gilani
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LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has called for a political solution to the issue of terrorism, and asserted that the country would not accept any unilateral action, like the one conducted by the US forces in Abbottabad.

Talking to a group of journalists at his residence in Lahore on Sunday, the prime minister said Pakistan would ask the US for more Orion aircraft, as it had borne a huge loss in the recent attack on the PNS Mehran in Karachi.

“Military solutions are not permanent; only political solutions are permanent and we will adopt the strategy which is in the national interest,” he said. To a question, Gilani said he was not aware whether the aircraft destroyed by terrorists at the PNS Mehran were insured or not but admitted that the attack caused a huge loss to the country. He said Pakistan would discuss the matter of acquiring more Orion aircraft from the USA.

To a question about the transfer of drone technology to Pakistan, the prime minister said, “It is impossible unless the trust deficit is over.” However, he said the recent visit of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry was meant to bridge the gap and remove misunderstandings between the two countries in the wake of Osama incident. He also stated that the ISI and the CIA relations had now well been repaired.

To another query about his recent meeting with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Gilani said he had tried to convince them that the presence of the US in Pakistan should be a cause of satisfaction for the common man here and for that purpose, America should also help Pakistan in addressing its problems, particularly the prevailing issue of loadshedding. He said the government was working on a war footing to resolve the issue of loadshedding. He said those who used to set deadlines for the government and make demands for mid-term polls were now making preparations for the next general elections, as they had realised that their predictions about the “fall of Roman Empire” wouldn’t prove true.

The prime minister also said he had discussed three issues on priority with the US leadership, and the first was related to growing resentment against the local people due to rapid drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

He said he tried to convince the US that drone attacks were proving counterproductive and hindering the government efforts to isolate the terrorists.

The prime minister also claimed to have conveyed to the US that reaction among the people of Pakistan after the Osama incident was very intense and added that the US leadership endorsed the view.

Moreover, he said the matters pertaining to the access of Pakistani businessmen to foreign markets also came under discussion with the US leaders. He Pakistan could never allow terrorists to use its land for their purpose and added that on the issue of national security, the political leadership of the country stood united.

About the formation of a commission on the Abbottabad incident, he said the commission would be formed but deadline couldn’t be given on any issue in politics. About the PNS incident commission, he said it was the wish of the naval chief and it would also be formed.

Prime Minister Gilani said the democratic government was aware of its responsibilities and the PPP, being the party of the Federation, would also emerge victorious in the next polls.

About buying electricity from Iran, Gilani said the government would avail all opportunities which it felt were in the national interest. He added that his recent visit to China would also bring forth positive results, adding that both sides had agreed to continue visits and cooperate in different sectors. He said an amount of Rs730 billion would be allocated for development in the upcoming budget and if properly utilised by the provinces, a lot could improve. When asked to comment on the stance of Sharifs to refuse foreign aid, Gilani said: “It doesn’t seem possible.”

APP adds: The premier said no compromise would be made on the sovereignty and self-respect of the country. Taking strong exception to PTI Chief Imran Khan’s statement, Gilani said he did not own any assets abroad. “I challenge Imran Khan to prove my foreign assets, and I would donate all those to the PTI,” he added.

The premier dispelled the impression that Pakistan has been isolated on the international front, stressing that Pakistan has complete backing of the West, the European Union (EU), China, Saudi Arabia, Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the relations with the neighbours have improved a great deal.

About Afghanistan, he said Pakistan believed in a peaceful, stable, sovereign and independent Afghanistan. About the raise in salaries, Gilani said his government had raised salaries of the armed forces, judges, doctors, government servants and personnel of the law-enforcement agencies, adding that it was the responsibility of the provincial governments to also raise the salaries.

Gilani said the nuclear assets were in safe hands, adding that the US leadership also testified to the fact. About the local government elections, he said he was a staunch supporter of the LG elections, but a decision in this regard would be made by the provincial governments.

About the opposition’s claims of saying no to foreign aid, the premier said it was the prerogative of the federal government, not of the provincial governments, to decide on foreign loans. About the expansion of cabinet, he said the cabinet might be expanded if the need arises.

He said political and military leadership are in unison on all issues pertaining to national defence, stressing Pakistan is neither isolated nor weakened but it is ensured that our soil is not used against others.

Gilani said the government was making every effort to increase its energy resources to provide relief to the masses, adding that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline projects as well as civil nuclear energy dialogue were the steps towards increasing the energy resources to overcome loadshedding in the country.

End.

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