LAHORE – Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said here on Sunday that 34,000 troops had been deployed in North Waziristan Agency, a clear indication that an army operation was on the cards, whose timing and strategy however, would be decided by Pakistan.
“We are making headway systematically. We have our own timing and priorities. We are holding talks on NWA operation. We have taken some action in tribal areas”, the minister said at a news conference at the State Guest House.
He had returned from the United States early in the morning after completing strategic dialogue with the United States, which he said was a great success from Pakistan’s perspective.
The minister said the army would decide the timing of operation against the Haqqani network.
He said in his talks with the US authorities he had dispelled the impression about Pakistan’s lack of seriousness in war against terror. He said he had told his hosts that some 30,000 people, including 7,000 security personnel, had laid down their lives in the terror war, while less than 7,000 casualties had been suffered by NATO forces collectively.
“What else is seriousness”, the minister asked, urging the US authorities to stop doubting Pakistan’s commitment.
He said he told the US authorities that in case the two countries had ‘honest disagreements’, each side should try to make the other understand its point of view, without levelling any allegation”.
Answering a question, the minister said the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline did not come under discussion. Pakistan, he said, had already signed an agreement with Iran and was also trying to get gas from other sources to meet its demands, which was sufficient to clarify Islamabad’s position on the project
In response to another question, the foreign minister said the US should play its role for the solution of the Kashmir dispute, just in the manner it had done for the Indus Water Treaty between the two nuclear neighbours.
Although the US maintained that it would play any role only when both the countries approached it, Mr Qureshi said Pakistan thought that the US was in a position to mediate for peace in South Asia, which was not possible unless the Kashmir dispute was settled.
He said he had raised the Kashmir issue with his Indian counterpart SM Krishna when he visited Islamabad a few months ago. The matter would again be taken up when he (Shah Mehmood) would be visiting New Delhi, he stressed.
According to him, he had raised the Kashmir dispute during his address to the UN General Assembly, a move, which he claimed, was praised by APHC leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mir Waiz and Yasin Malik.
About the possibility of US cooperation with Pakistan in the field of civil nuclear technology, he said, he had placed Islamabad’s case before the US authorities. He said the US had been told that Pakistan should not be discriminated against in this field. The minister did not indicate any positive response from the other side.
He told a questioner that President Obama would visit Pakistan next year. The visit would be exclusive, planned and focused, he said, implying that it would not be like the one paid by then president Clinton during the Musharraf rule, when the US president spent some days in India and only a few hours in Islamabad.
The minister was happy over cooperation Pakistan would get in the field of defence. However, he did not give details.
Click to view image: '510f3e4012e3-armytodecidetimingofnwaop_15932.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|