Pakistan’s PM Warns US to End ‘Negative Messaging’ on Militancy

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 4:28 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is warning the United States it must end “negative messaging” by accusing Pakistan of supporting militant attacks in Afghanistan. He says such accusations will only strengthen anti-American feelings in his country.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Gilani said unilateral U.S. military action to hunt down Haqqani network militants inside Pakistan – similar to the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May – would be a violation of his country's sovereignty.

Gilani's statement came a day after the Pakistani military said it would not target the Haqqani network because it is already stretched too thin battling militants elsewhere in northwestern Pakistan.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Pakistanis turned out for anti-American rallies across the country.

Also Tuesday, a suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on a compound in South Waziristan tribal region, but there are conflicting reports on the number of casualties. The French News Agency quoted local security officials as saying the militants managed to flee, while the Reuters news agency, quoting intelligence officials, said at least three alleged militants were killed in the strike.

Last week, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said that the Haqqani group was a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani spy agency. He blamed its fighters for a deadly assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, as well as an attack on a NATO base in Afghanistan earlier this month. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

On Tuesday, the Taliban said in an online statement that it, not Pakistan, controls the Haqqani network. The group said there are no ties between the Haqqani network and Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, and that Haqqani fighters do not seek refuge in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, as Washington claims.

The Taliban statement also said attempts to link the Haqqani network's founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, to the Pakistani government were designed to “give a bad name to our prominent figures” by tying them to foreign intelligence services.