Unilateral US raid ‘totally unacceptable’: Gilani

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Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had assured him there would be no more unilateral raids into Pakistan, and added that victories in the fight against terrorism must be credited to Pakistan. Gilani said in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian that he had received US assurances there would be no repeat of the unilateral raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in May.
The prime minister said he had received the assurance personally from Clinton. In her public statements, however, Clinton has declared the US would strike unilaterally against other top militants if others did not.

The prime minister’s remarks contradict statements by US President Barack Obama and other American officials as well that US forces would take similar action against other al Qaeda leaders if necessary.
“Since we were sharing information with the US and there was a tremendous relationship with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), therefore we could have done a joint operation in Abbottabad, but it didn’t happen. Therefore we had a lot of reservations,” Gilani said. “They have assured us in future there will be no unilateral actions in Pakistan, and there would be co-operation between both agencies,” he added. Gilani said any repeat of the Abbottabad raid would be “totally unacceptable”. “Public opinion would further aggravate against the United States and you cannot fight a war without the support of the masses. You need the masses to support military actions against militants,” he said.
He said another raid would damage “not only our relationship, but also our common objective, to fight against militants. We are fighting a war and if we fail that means that it’s not good for the world. We can’t afford losing”. Gilani also denied reports that the US continued to use Pakistani bases to launch drone attacks on militants in the tribal regions of the country. “We don’t allow our bases to be used. They have other bases they use,” Gilani said.
Asked where those bases were, he replied: “I don’t know. You ask the Americans. This is a question to put to them.” “Drone attacks are against our strategy too, because we have been isolating the militants from the local population and when there are drone attacks they get united again,” Gilani said further. On the allegation this month by US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen that the Pakistani government had “sanctioned” the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad, the prime minister said Mullen should present his evidence to the inquiry into the killing. He said he was not aware if Mullen had done so.
On the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s FBI allegations this week that the ISI had spent $4 million on trying to influence US policy on Kashmir in Pakistan’s favour, Gilani claimed he was not sufficiently well informed to comment. “I have been travelling. I don’t have full information,” he said.
“As [the US and Pakistan] are working together in fighting militancy, victories should be shared along with losses,” Gilani later told a press conference here at the conclusion of his four-day visit to the UK. He acknowledged, however, that Pakistan and the US were undergoing a strained period after the Abbottabad raid.
He said the incident resulted in misunderstandings between the two countries after Pakistan voiced its reservations against not being taken into confidence by the US. On relations with India, the prime minister said the two countries had come to the table to discuss all the issues, including the Kashmir dispute. He said Pakistan and India had realised that their relations should not become hostage to the Mumbai attacks and added that the two countries’ foreign ministers would be meeting on July 27 to discuss a host of issues.
“If the two countries do not talk, the beneficiaries will be the militants,” he said.
Commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai in the US, Gilani said Fai belonged to Indian-Occupied Kashmir and his detention had nothing to do with Pakistan’s clear-cut policy on the region.