WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (APP): Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sunday said the two allies are working closely to thwart terrorist attacks anywhere in the world but made it clear that his country would not allow any foreign troops on its soil and follow its own timeline for anti-terror actions on its side of the Afghan border.“Pakistan will go after all terrorist groups that are (operating) on its soil. We’ve done it in the last two and a half years and the few groups that are remaining we will target them with American help but it will be technical help, it will not be personnel on ground,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told CNN’s State of the Union programme.
Islamabad and NATO will jointly investigate this week’s missile attack on a Pakistani post which killed three Pakistani soldiers, he said. Haqqani was hopeful that a vital Pakistani supply route for Afghanistan-based NATO forces – closed temporarily due to security fears and not as a political retaliation- would be re-opened soon.
The Pakistani team has already arrived in Khost to investigate the cross-border incident which claimed lives of three Pakistani soldiers. “Allies have to reassure each other if they kill personnel of the other side that it was basically because of the fog of war, and not because of any deliberate action. And that is important. And the Americans have assured us that it was because of that. So we will investigate it jointly,” he stated.
On the security side, he noted, Pakistan cannot take the risk of letting convoys pass at a time when people are enraged, in the backdrop of a spate of NATO incursions into Pakistani territory.
“We are working that issue. I do not expect that blockade to continue for too long — it is not a blockade it is just a temporary suspension of the convoys moving through — the other route in Pakistan through Chamman is still open and 70 percent of NATO supplies go through Pakistan to Afghanistan,” he stated.
At the same time, the enovy also reported close cooperative efforts by Pakistani and American intelligence towards thwarting a Europe-centric terrotist plot, reported in the media this week.
“This is an example of how American and Pakistani cooperation works. The US intelligence agencies had picked up information. They picked up chatter, which was shared with the Pakistani side and the Pakistani side is following leads.
And that will make Europe and the United States safer,” Haqqani said, adding it would not be possible for him to go into further details. The American CIA, he said, shared intelligence with the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence on the reported plotting for attacks in Europe. “Even though the ISI is maligned a lot in the media, the fact is that it is one of the closest allies and partners of the United States —in this particular incident, the United States has been very pleased with Pakistani cooperation.
Ambassador Haqqani reminded the critics of his country’s anti-terror efforts that the Pakistani military has fought “very effectively” in Swat and South Waziristan in the last two and a half years.
“We have lost more soldiers and more officers than any other country in fighting terrorism. The only factor about North Waziristan is the capacity of Pakistan military at this particular moment to go in. “So, I think that the issues about the ability and will are all behind us. What is going on right now is that Pakistan is saying we will take care of all terrorists on the Pakistani side of the border but we will do it on our timeline.We can’t always follow a timeline that our allies set for us because we are allies not a satellite.”
In answer to a question, Haqqani told the channel that the “drones and helicopters are two different things.”
“I spoke to Gen Petraeus last night, he called from Kabul, he assured me that they will resolve the the issue over the NATO tanker supply line, he understands that Pakistan has not stopped as a political retailation but actually only to make convoys more secure because of the circumstances.”
He also drew attention of American viewers to a “complex political reality” in Pakistan.
“Americans often look at their own politics and you cover it every week and you still can’t make sense of it for the ordinary viewer. All politics is local and the local situation in Pakistan is that the United States is not very popular among our public.
“But the fact remains that an elected democractic government in Pakistan remains limited by public opion to the extent of what it can do.” Haqqani also cautioned against churning out simplistic anaylses of the situation in the region. “People in Washington sometimes get all excited. And these days because Pakistan is the story, therefore every John, Joe and Jane covers it and tries to cover the complexities of the story in a simplistic way.” “Pakistan is an American ally.
America depends on Pakistan. We can’t and do not do everthing that the Americans think we should do because sometimes we don’t have the capacity sometimes, we don’t have the means. “We work those things out. And that is exactly we are doing right now.Minus all the political noise, the fact remains that we are working together – APP