Pakistan coalition to devise anti-terror strategy: PM | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 21, 2008

Pakistan coalition to devise anti-terror strategy: PM

Obama warnings undercut Pak govt

Leaders of Pakistan's ruling coalition will meet in Islamabad next week to devise a comprehensive strategy to root out terrorism and extremism, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said late Saturday.
Gilani's announcement of the meeting set for Wednesday comes amid intense pressure from the United States and other Western allies to crack down on Taliban forces on its side of the porous border with Afghanistan.
"The global war against terrorism is our own war and we have to fight it," Gilani said in his first televised address to the nation four months after taking up his post in the new coalition government.
"An extraordinary summit meeting of coalition leaders will devise a comprehensive strategy to root out terrorism and extremism from the country on July 23," he said.
Next week's meeting comes against the backdrop of an ongoing operation against the extremist Taliban in the increasingly troubled northwestern district of Hangu.
Pakistan's new government has engaged in peace talks with Islamic militants aimed at halting the fighting in the country's northwest.
But the United States, Pakistan's main ally in the "war on terror," has said it did not approve of those negotiations, which include top Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, who is accused of masterminding last year's assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
Washington has warned that al-Qaeda is rebuilding itself in Pakistan's tribal areas for a possible terrorist attack on US soil, while Kabul has accused Pakistan of backing Taliban insurgents waging a bloody insurgency against international troops in Afghanistan.
Gilani ruled out action by foreign troops on Pakistani soil, saying, "We will not allow our sovereignty to be hurt at any cost."
"We are a sovereign state and only we will take decisions and actions inside our territory," he said.
Pakistan's coalition government, led by the parties of Bhutto and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, came into power after defeating President Pervez Musharraf's allies in elections in February.
During his address, Gilani announced relief schemes to minimise the impact of growing inflation and soaring food prices.
Inflation averaged 10.3 percent from July 2007 to April 2008, compared with 7.9 percent over the previous period in 2006.
Meanwhile, White House hopeful Barack Obama's threats of US military action against extremist sanctuaries in Pakistan are undermining Islamabad's new government, a top Pakistani official warned.
North West Frontier Province (NWFP) governor Owais Ghani said any incursion into Pakistan's mountainous northwestern tribal belt bordering Afghanistan would spark "disastrous" consequences for the whole world.

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