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War on terror: Pakistan to follow its own timeline: FO

10 June, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is following a well-thought-out strategy to eradicate the menace of extremism and terrorism, and will follow its own timeline, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

"We strongly believe that such statements [like the one Panetta made] are misplaced and unhelpful in bringing about peace and stability in the region."

The spokesman said that Pakistan had strongly rejected US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta's allegations that Pakistan was allowing terrorists' "safe havens" to operate on its border along Afghanistan, causing attacks on the US and coalition forces. Leon Panetta, who was on a visit to Kabul, said on Thursday that Washington was reaching the limits of its patience with Islamabad because of the safe havens the country offered to insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan.

"We feel that the secretary of defence is oversimplifying some of the very complex issues we are all dealing with in our efforts against extremism and terrorism," the spokesman said. "These issues need to be seen in the context of overall peace and stability in Afghanistan and the broader region."

The spokesman said that Pakistan had repeatedly said that it would not allow its territory to be used against any country, nor would it allow any safe heavens on its territory. "We are fighting terrorism and extremism in our own national interest and nobody should doubt our resolve and determination in this regard. Our sacrifices remain unparallel and our resolve unshakable."

Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, while on a visit to Islamabad, called upon the international community to realise sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war on terror and the role it played against terrorists and for peace in the region. Turkey and UK, two important NATO countries, also praised Pakistan's role against terrorism. British Prime Minister David Cameron, on the occasion of the first annual summit of UK-Pakistan enhanced strategic dialogue, said that his country recognised the sacrifices Pakistan made in the face of terror.

Pakistan launched a series of operations in the Tribal Areas, including South Waziristan, along Afghan border and other parts of the country but the US was insisting on full-fledged operation in North Waziristan, allegedly home to the Haqqani network and other al Qaeda-linked outfits.

Panetta urged Pakistan to go after the Haqqani network. Strategists in Pakistan think that the army is stretched and the county's situation does not allow Pakistan to open a new front in North Waziristan, the biggest tribal agency out of the seven tribal divisions.

End.

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