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US attacks may destabilize situation: Foreign Minister

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Pakistan not informed about Thursday attack

ISLAMABAD: Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday US didn’t inform Pakistan about fresh attacks inside Pakistan’s territory on Thursday. Addressing a press conference in Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Qureshi said all countries should respect each other sovereignty. Admiral Mullen had assured us that Pakistan’s sovereignty would be respected, however, US launched fresh attack inside Pakistan on Thursday.

Qureshi noted there was lack of coordination between US government and military. He said there was also communication gap between allied and US forces in Afghanistan. He termed the US incursions into Pakistan “unproductive”, warned that these could destabilize the situation.

He said a day after talks between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and the US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Michael Mullen, Qureshi stressed that the nations should respect the sovereignty of each other. He said Pakistan too has a responsibility to ensure that there was no incident from the Pakistan side that violates the territory of others or impacts their sovereignty.

The Foreign Minister called for a long term strategy to address the situation and said the “internal realities and compulsions” have to be kept in view.

He was critical of those political elements that were voicing opposition to the government and said it was criticism just for the sake of criticism. “We do need to increase the number of friends for Pakistan and not create more enemies,” Qureshi said. “We have to protect our interests and protect our sovereignty and understand the given situation.”

The Foreign Minister said it was agreed between the two countries that US would not violate Pakistan integrity. He said Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani during his meeting with Admiral Michael Mullen expressed Pakistan’s point of view in clear terms and conveyed the aspirations of the people of Pakistan to him.

Qureshi said Pakistan also conveyed to Admiral Mullen that there are principles to be observed at the international level and sovereignty of every country should be respected at all costs. He said in the present circumstances, there was a need to understand each other’s point of view. The Foreign Minister said Pakistan was not intimated in advance about the attack by the American forces.

Referring to the statement of Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Minister said his statement reflects Pakistan true perspective. He said it was established rule in the war against terror that if any action were required inside Pakistan it will be taken by the Pakistan’s forces while action inside Afghanistan will be conducted by the international forces.

Replying to a question about Pak-India peace process, the Foreign Minister said, “I think the peace process between the two countries is not halted.” He said Pakistan’s delegation will visit India shortly to discuss the possibilities to increase trade across Line of Control.

The Minister said Pakistan was keen to send its delegation to India to discuss bilateral issues including Kashmir. “We have to continue the peace process as it is in the benefit of both the countries,” he said. He said there were some difficulties, however he was optimist that the meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly will be productive.

Qureshi said both Pakistan and India should show restraint while issuing statements and added that Pakistan has shown restraint in this regard. “We want to move in a positive direction,” he added.

Responding to recent blasts in India, the Foreign Minister said these blasts had nothing to do with Kashmir adding that the movement in Kashmir was indigenous. He said although there were difficulties but diplomacy never failed and Pakistan has never given up. He said that Pakistan would continue its efforts to present its point of view through diplomatic channels. -SANA

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