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‘Pak doesn’t want war’
Gillani says Islamabad has to ensure that its territory is not used for terrorism or be prepared to face NATO attacks
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

Pakistan will have to ensure that its territory is not used for terrorism or be prepared to face NATO attacks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Monday. “We have an obligation to act against terrorists who operate within and outside the country by using our territory, failing which we would be providing an opportunity to others, including the NATO forces for intervention inside our borders,” Gilani said, while speaking at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) here.

The Pakistani premier who also talked to reporters after his address ruled out any productive cooperation with India until ‘it provides credible evidence against individuals and organisations responsible for Mumbai strikes and other terrorist acts’.

Gilani said Pakistan is a responsible and peaceful nuclear state that doesn’t want war with anybody. We want good relations with our neighbors for stability and development of the region, he added. “No body would be allowed to disrupt internal and external peace,” said the Pakistan PM, adding that no parallel government would be allowed in the country.

According to PTI, the Pakistani establishment now believes that the “time of war” with India is over and the recent telephonic contacts at the highest military level have led to reduction in tensions generated in the wake of troop build-up following the Mumbai terror attacks.

“The time of war has gone and even India cannot dare mount surgical strikes primarily because of the uncertain response,” an unnamed top official told The News daily after the directors-general of military operations (DGMOs) of the two countries spoke on their hotline over the weekend. The contacts between the DGMOs had not been suspended after last month's terrorist attack in Mumbai and that the two officials remained in touch, officials said.

The DGMOs discussed the situation along the Line of Control and the international border and other issues, Dawn news channel reported. It quoted sources as saying that the conversation was part of “routine contacts” between the top two military officials.



Kayani softens tone

Islamabad, December 29
Pakistan’s Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today emphasised the need to “de-escalate and avoid conflict” with India in the wake of the Mumbai attack as China launched a diplomatic initiative to ease the Indo-Pak tensions by dispatching a top diplomat here.

Kayani’s comments, believed to be his first on the situation, came during his talks with Chinese minister He Yafei, who is here to help defuse the Indo-Pak tensions.

“The Army chief highlighted the need to deescalate and avoid conflict in the interest of peace and security,” said a brief military statement, which was issued after He Yafei's talks with Kayani and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Tariq Majid.

The Pakistan army chief claimed that Islamabad has been exercising restraint amids tensions with India, but at the same time insisted that his country reserved the right to defend itself in the event of any aggression, TV channels here reported. — PTI



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