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Pak to review counter-terror cooperation with US

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 12, 2011, 10:37 PM IST
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Pak to review counter-terror cooperation with US
The meeting was also attended by Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

Islamabad: Stepping up its criticism of the "unilateral" American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the Pakistan government on Thursday condemned the operation and said it would review it's counter-terrorism cooperation with the US.

The Defence Committee of the Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday afternoon, condemned the "US unilateral action in Abbottabad in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty."

The meeting was also attended by Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

The country's highest decision-making body on security issues decided to "institute an inter-agency process to clearly define the parameters of our cooperation with the US in counter-terrorism in accordance with Pakistan's national interests and the aspirations of the people."

A day after US special forces killed the al-Qaeda leader in a raid on a compound near the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad on May 2, Islamabad described bin Laden's death as an "important milestone in the fight against terrorism."

However, Pakistan stepped up its criticism of the US operation as bin Laden's presence in the garrison city raised awkward and embarrassing questions about the military and intelligence set-up's failure to trace the world's most wanted man while he was living in the midst of thousands of soldiers.

Gilani has already said that Pakistan will respond with "full force" if the US or any other country mounts an operation similar to the one that killed bin Laden.

He has also announced that the army's Adjutant General will conduct a probe to ascertain how bin Laden had been able to hide in Abbottabad.

The Defence Committee of the Cabinet said safeguarding Pakistan's sovereignty and national security "is a sacred duty, which will be ensured at all costs."

It added, "Pakistan is capable and shall respond appropriately to any challenge to national security, with the full support of the people."

While reiterating Islamabad's readiness to cooperate with the world community in promoting effective joint cooperation in countering terrorism, the DCC said such "cooperation will be predicated on Pakistan's security interest."

Calling for respect for Pakistan's sovereignty, it called for adopting a partnership approach "based on mutual respect and mutual trust."

In his remarks at the meeting of the DCC, Gilani said it was "imperative" that the civil and military set-up should work together with the parliament and the people to safeguard Pakistan's sovereignty and security and to promote
national interests.

The covert operation by US forces had raised "several serious questions which are being debated internationally and more specifically in the US and Pakistan,"
he acknowledged.

"The questions relating to our defence preparedness, the capability of our intelligence agencies, our possible response to a repeat of such action, as well as legal and moral issues pertaining to sovereignty and propriety, are not only being asked but are also a cause of anxiety and concern to the people of Pakistan," Gilani said.

Elected representatives will have an opportunity to get answers to questions during an in-camera joint session of parliament to be held on May 13, he said.

Senior military and intelligence officials will brief lawmakers at the joint session.

The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Khalid Shamim Wynne, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali.

First Published: May 12, 2011, 10:37 PM IST
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