If Pakistan fails, US will also fail – Pakistan’s PM

Terrorism is a global challenge and Pakistan has the frontline stand, believes Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, which means the country has to make a lot of sacrifices – not just in casualties but also its economy.

­The prime minister expressed hope that “by now the US is convinced that we are part of the solution to terrorism but not a part of the problem.”

He says that Pakistan is fighting against terrorism together with the US and “it is a combined effort”, which means if Pakistan fails, the US will also fail.

Terrorism has neither boundaries nor ideology, it is meant only to destabilize and it has no support in Pakistan, Gilani says, because it is working on foreign agenda and is sponsored from abroad. He adds  that drug money is behind the terrorism in his country.

As for American drone strikes on Pakistani territory, the prime minister says that Islamabad has been successful in separating local tribes, which now support the central government, and militants, but that drone attacks that keep killing innocent civilians on the ground help create sympathy for terrorists among the locals.

“It is not in favor of either military or political strategy. They make our work difficult,” he pointed out, adding that Pakistan can do the job itself.

Answering a question about extending American military presence in the country, Gilani insists that there should be respect for the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are closely cooperating in their joint fight against militants, but the border between the countries is too long and proper security is something to be desired, largely because Pakistan has been accepting refugees from Afghanistan for the last 30 years. He says interrelations of the border districts of the two countries are now too complicated, making people constantly travel between the two sides of the border.

The prime minister emphatically denies all allegations about militants laying their hands on the money allocated by the US to Pakistan.

The Pakistani military nuclear program is very secure and recognized by the international community, insists Gilani, and the country’s authorities intend to keep it that way, he says.

Russia and Pakistan have had strategic relations since 1948 and despite ups and downs after the 9/11 tragedy, both countries have a common strategy in fighting extremism and terrorism.