ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said as Pakistan was ready to engage India in exposing the hidden hands behind Mumbai terror attacks, the terrorists should not be allowed to derail peace process between the two countries.”We are prepared to engage India closely to expose the hidden hands behind these attacks”, Gilani said while speaking at a dinner hosted in honour of the EU Heads of Mission here.
“While the terrorists may try to derail the peace process between Pakistan and India, we should not allow them to succeed in their nefarious designs,” the Prime Minister added. Head of delegation of European Commission, Ambassador Jan De Kok and Ambassador of France, Daniel Jouannean also spoke on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has condemned in the strongest words the ghastly acts of terrorism in the Indian city of Mumbai. “I have assured Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh of our complete cooperation in investigating these attacks”, he added. About terrorism and extremism, Gilani said Pakistan and the European Union have a common stake in this war, adding, internally Pakistan has evolved a well thought-out multi-pronged strategy to restore peace in FATA and parts of the NWFP.
“Our policy has a greater chance of success because it has both political and public ownership,” he said and assured the EU Heads of Mission that Pakistan’s policy is succeeding.
The Prime Minister said in a number of areas, the local population has risen against the militants, adding, an improvement of the situation in the Tribal Areas will have a salutary impact on the security situation of the country as a whole.He pointed out that the sustainable resilience on the part of the militants is directly correlated to the availability to them of drug money from Afghanistan. “This source of terrorist financing must be checked,” he added.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has paid a huge human, social and economic cost in the fight against terrorism. “Only in the last three years there have been around 5000 acts of terrorism, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.” According to the estimated quantification, Gilani said Pakistan’s economy suffers to the tune of US $ 6 billion a year. Budgetary allocation for the anti-terrorism drive and security measures has a negative bearing on our development activities, he added.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan’s participation in the anti-terrorist campaign has led to massive unemployment and displacement of people in the affected regions which in turn is responsible for perpetration of heinous crimes, weakening the very fabric of our society. “In this context, it becomes even more important for Pakistan to have greater market access to the European Union, which will generate employment and reduce poverty and in turn have an important bearing on our anti terrorism policy,” he added.
The Prime Minister also emphasized that the government is acutely aware of the security needs of the foreign missions. “We are committed to providing you extra security in the present circumstances and have taken important measures to improve the security of your missions and personnel,” he added.
Gilani said Pakistan is fully committed to peace; stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan, adding, bilateral relations and mutual confidence have improved in the last six months.
He said there had been important interactions at the leadership level between the two countries. “We have successfully convened the Mini Jirga in Islamabad and we are looking forward to the Regional Economic Conference on Afghanistan in Islamabad in the near future.”We realize that we face common challenges that must be dealt with together by our two countries in a spirit of brotherhood and cooperation,” he added.