Islamabad: Pakistan cannot be pressurised to “do more”, a combative Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Thursday as Islamabad’s relations remained strained with Washington over an accusation that spy agency ISI was supporting the Haqqani terror network.
Gilani urged the people to stand united to confront the challenges as he addressed the country’s political leadership at the specially convened All Parties Conference (APC) here.
He said there was need to resolve issues in a responsible and positive manner and these could only be addressed through dialogue, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
He rejected the US officials’ statements that the ISI-supported Haqqani network was behind recent attacks in Afghanistan, including the Sep 11 truck bomb attack and the Sep 13 assault on the US embassy in Kabul.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Sep 22 accused the Pakistani government of supporting the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network. Mullen called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s ISI, a charge Islamabad denied.
Gilani said: “Pakistan cannot be pressurised to do more.” The prime minister termed the statements “surprising”. He said Pakistan desired relations based on mutual respect, dignity and honour. “Protection and upholding of national sovereignty is our first priority,” Gilani said and added that Pakistani nation was an honourable and respectable nation and was resilient and strong enough to tackle all important challenges to its national interests.
Stating that in Afghanistan, Pakistan fully supports the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led efforts for transition, Gilani said the assassination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani had severely damaged the chances of a peaceful transition in Afghanistan.
He said the Pakistani political leadership and the country had to stand up to the challenges by rising above petty political differences to defend its territory, national sovereignty and integrity. He said the meeting was to discuss vital national issues and to apprise the political leaders about the latest changes in the region.
Just a day ago, Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani held a meeting here to discuss the current situation.
Meanwhile, during the meet, Hina Rabbani Khar, foreign minister of Pakistan also apprised the participants of her meetings with the US Government officials during her visit to New York for the UN General Assembly session.
Khar said she assertively presented Pakistan’s case during her meetings and highlighted the immense sacrifices rendered by the nation in the war against terrorism.
ISI chief Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha briefed the meeting about the challenges the country was facing on the military front. Pasha said the ISI was not exporting terrorism and denied US accusations of supporting the Haqqani network, Geo TV reported citing sources.
During the meet, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif said that there must be some reason that the world was leveling these accusations against Pakistan. He called for all issues to be presented before parliament and added that the world would not believe Pakistan unless parliamentary resolutions were implemented.
Kayani replied that he would address his concerns, the report added.
The deteriorating ties with the US has led Pakistan to court its allies.
On Wednesday, Pakistan and Iran vowed to work together for regional peace and stability besides agreeing to cooperate on security and border management.
Pasha visited Saudi Arabia Monday while Chinese Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu came to Islamabad on a two-day visit.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.