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

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 8:15 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 al-Qaida and Taliban-linked Haqqani network because it is already stretched too thin battling militants elsewhere in northwestern Pakistan.

Also Tuesday, hundreds of Pakistanis turned out for anti-American rallies across the country, and a suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on a compound near Wana in the South Waziristan tribal region, killing at least three alleged militants.

On the final day of the U.N. General Assembly's annual session in New York Tuesday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said few countries have been as brutally ravaged by terrorism as Pakistan. She told the gathering that 30,000 civilians, police and security forces have been killed since 2002. Khar said Islamabad is determined to eliminate terrorism from its soil, from the region and from the world, and she called for enhanced international cooperation to wipe it out.

Her remarks came as the White House urged the Pakistani government “to take action” to deal with the Haqqani network that Washington says conducts attacks against international forces from its base in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan tribal region.

But in an online statement Tuesday, the Taliban said 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 are designed to “give a bad name” to its prominent figures by tying them to foreign intelligence services.