| GEO Pakistan|
| Defeat no option for Pak in terror war: FM|
| Updated at: 1956 PST, Sunday, April 05, 2009|
MULTAN: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that no foreign military boot will step in Pakistan and our own law enforcement agencies and paramilitary forces will conduct anti-terrorism operation inside the country.
Talking to the newsmen at the local airport upon his arrival here, the Foreign Minister said that during his recent visit to Washington he conveyed clearly to the US that NATO will not be allowed to conduct operation in Pakistan adding that it is not acceptable for Pakistan. They have understood our point of view and accepted it, he added.
He said that US has introduced a bill worth US$ 10.5 billion for Pakistan including US$ 7.5 billion as economic assistance and rest of US$3 billion for military assistance.
He termed it as a success. Mentioning a statement by US President Barack Obama regarding ‘No Blank Cheque’, FM said, Pakistan will neither give any blank cheque nor will accept it.
We are a sovereign country and a self-esteemed nation of 180 million people, he said adding that US is a military and economic power but we want to negotiate with them and highlight our point of view before them on the basis of equality like a friend and ally.
Foreign Minister said that defeat is not an option for Pakistan in the war against terrorism. We all agree that we cannot lose this war because the terrorists do not merely want to terrorize but they are challenging the writ of the government and want to impose their own system.
He said that US and Pakistan’s interests coincide in the war against terrorism but added that we are fighting the menace for our own sake. He said that there are two kind of elements in troubled parts. Firstly the irreconcilable elements, he said adding that government will not hold negotiations with them. However, talks is an option in case of reconcilable elements, he said when asked whether talks will be held with the militants like Baitullah Mehsud.
He said that the new strategy was the result of failure of previous strategy pursued over last seven years. He said that new strategy is multi-pronged as in addition to military surge it also talks about civilian surge, reconciliation, economic development and capacity enhancement.
He said that US has initiated moves for US$10.5 billion economic assistance for Pakistan and hoped more assistance will come in the wake of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) meeting scheduled for April 17 in Tokyo.
He said that Pakistan successfully made its western allies understand its point of view and added that US President, in his address to the G20 summit, had said that while knowing we all are facing economic crisis situation we have to help Pakistan. He said that the US President also asked the EU and Nato countries that Pakistan should be extended assistance to win war on terrorism.
Foreign Minister also thanked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in her address in the Hague conference, had advocated the case of Pakistan for assistance.
He said that Pakistan has prepared an assistance package detailing its requirements which will be discussed in the April 17 Tokyo meeting of FoDP which will comprise two sessions. The second session will be the donors conference to be attended by Pakistan and World Bank.
Foreign Minister urged the world to accept Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power and recognize it as they did in case of India. We are a responsible nuclear power and it will be appropriate that the world should recognize it, he added.
To a question on reported rocket launch for test by North Korea, he said that Pakistan was against the nuclear proliferation and will move along with the world for noble cause of peace.
Foreign Minister said that Pakistan wants resumption of composite dialogue process with India and added it was a source of pleasure if
friends are extending help to make it happen. He, however, added that India was engaged in elections these days and added that talks should resume once the elections are over in India.
He said that the Hague Conference was attended by Foreign Ministers of 83 countries in which new strategy of Obama administration was discussed and endorsed. He said he has been invited to visit Washington once again in May to discuss what to do next after having presented and debated the new strategy. He said that support to Pakistan was ensured in the Hague conference and its point of view of regional and holistic approach was endorsed.
He said that special US envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan ambassador Richard Hallbrook will be visiting Pakistan on April 7. He said that modalities will be discussed on the matters that have been decided. Moreover, important issues including Quetta Shura will also come under discussions in a meeting with him at the Foreign Office during which he will present Pakistan’s point of view on the matter.
Foreign Minister said that Quetta Shura was not a new issue as it remained a subject for discussion during the Musharraf regime.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Narcotics trade was funding extremism and terrorism and sought combined efforts of regional countries to stop this source of funding under the regional approach. He expressed grief over the incident of recovery of dead bodies from a container and stressed that human smuggling problem should be tackled through a regional approach under joint efforts by Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and central asian republics.
He said that agents may have lured innocent people and fleeced them on the promises of lucrative jobs. Those found dead may include Uzbek, Tajik and Afghans wanted to enter Europe via Iran to end their poverty, FM said adding that its a human issue and needs to be tackled through regional cooperation.
He strongly condemned the lashing punishment to a girl in Swat saying it was against Shariah, un‑Islamic, immoral, and inhuman act and the government, the civil society, media and intellectuals have strongly condemned it. The issue has been taken up at the highest level, FM said adding that government has ordered an inquiry while Chief Justice Supreme Court has also taken notice of it.
He said that a three‑member panel of UN will soon meet to prepare modalities for investigations into the assassination of martyred PPP leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and added that investigations would conclude within a specific time frame.
He said that during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Conference in Moscow, he met with the Russian Foreign Minister and invited him to join the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) meeting in Tokyo. They are considering it seriously, FM said adding that Russia has endorsed Pakistan’s point of view regarding regional and holistic approach to counter terrorism. He said that Pakistan will provide conducive environment for Russian investment and efforts will be made to find what incentives can be offered to include Russia in our economic activity in sectors like energy, defence and others.
Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a unique trilateral summit was held in Ankara, Turkey. It was unique because head of the states of the three countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey besides their Foreign Ministers, Army Chiefs, and Intelligence chiefs attended the summit to address regional issues. It has been decided that this trilateral summit will be held each year and joint working groups have been formed with the task to prepare agenda for the annual summit.
He expressed delight over the release of UNHCR representative John Solecki saying that our two month long efforts have resulted in success. The UNHCR representative will be leaving for his home today.
Foreign Minister condemned Chakwal blast incident and said that terrorism is a serious challenge. He stressed on enhancing capacity of security apparatus to combat terrorism successfully.
He added that joint resolve and solidarity was a must to root out terrorism before it spreads like cancer.