Pakistan PM tells US military action not lone solution
Islamabad, June 13, IRNA – Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Monday told a top visiting US official that ‘military action alone cannot be the solution’ of the present problems and the focus should be diverted to the insurgency-hit areas
The Prime Minister’s remarks is considered to be a response to the repeated demands from the top U.S. officials to do more especially their call for an operation in the North Waziristan tribal region.
Pakistan has not yet agreed to the U.S. proposal for military option in North Waziristan, the CIA considers the region as the main al-Qaeda and Taliban heaven for cross border attacks into Afghanistan.
Local media reported on Monday that Pakistan’s military has planned, as first step, to ‘enlist pro-government tribal elders in a fresh campaign it has devised to flush out al Qaeda members and its affiliates from North Waziristan’.
The move is aimed at deflecting growing US pressure for a full-scale offensive against the Haqqani Network – the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban factions – allegedly based there, Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reported.
“Reconciliation and dialogue have to be resorted to and international community and the U.S. in particular have to focus on socio-economic development in the militancy affected areas and provide political space to the democratic Government of Pakistan,” Gilani told Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Resources and Management in Islamabad.
The Prime Minister stressed that the future joint strategy for peace and stability in the region should ensure political and economic stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to a PM office statement.
“The support and assistance of international community to Pakistan at this critical juncture would be essential,” Gilani said and identified the development of energy sector as the most immediate requirement of Pakistan and called on the US to channelize its economic assistance to the high visibility power projects in Pakistan which would help building of its image as well.
Mr. Thomas R. Nides said the US Administration despite being under tremendous pressure for budgetary cuts, was doing its utmost to maintain the level of its economic assistance for Pakistan and had committed more than US $ 02 billion in the past eighteen months for undertaking the projects in Pakistan’s diverse sector, the statement said.