Pakistan not to accept pressure for N Waziristan operation: Qureshi

MULTAN : Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Saturday that Pakistan would not accept any external pressure and it would itself decide on any operation in North Waziristan keeping in view its requirements, resources and priorities.Talking to journalists here at local airport, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said there was no external pressure on Pakistan for launching an operation in North Waziristan.Qureshi said the whole world had acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifice in the war on terror.To a question on “do more” demand, the FM said Pakistan was making sincere efforts in the war and it had made sacrifices.“Our people and even shrines are being targeted by terrorists,” he said and added that the two sides should move forward in the context.On the strategic dialogue, the foreign minister said the US administration had decided to provide five-year security assistance to Pakistan to fulfill its defence requirements.On civil nuclear assistance, Qureshi said, “Energy is our requirement and we have conveyed our desire of a civil nuclear agreement.There should be no discrimination on the civil nuclear programme. We also want to move forward in the direction.”He said he had presented Pakistan’s historic and principled point of view in the United Nation. Kashmiri people were protesting against Indian atrocities and the world had admitted that the Kashmir movement was indigenous.He said Pakistan wished to normalise relation with India but Kashmiri people should be given due respect in the process leading to the solution of the issue. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan, being a neighbouring country, was ready to help the Afghan government for peace in Afghanistan if it sought Pakistan’s help.He said groups which were fighting against eachothers in Afghanistan were locals with different ethnic backgrounds and ideologies.“If the groups are willing to hold talks for peace, Pakistan is ready to help the process leading to peace and prosperity in Afghanistan,” he added.He said the UK had also wanted strategic dialogue with Pakistan. He said Pakistan also gave importance to its relations with Russia. “We have initiated a process to expand our relations with Russia, he added.

On meetings between the PM and the army chief, he said there exited good relationship between the civil and military leadership. He added the meetings were part of a consultative process related to national security issues. He said the army chief was also present in the strategic dialogue. “When we jointly present our case, it gets more weight,” he added.He said all state departments are playing their due role in the country’s uplift.About unification of PML factions, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it was PML’s internal matter and might be their political need. He added the PPP had no concern with it.To a question about tax collection from elite class, Qureshi said the country’s tax to GDP ratio was low as compared to other countries of the region. He said tax collection was vital for self-sufficiency and the country was relying on employed taxation and indirect taxes.The foreign minister also suggested a debate on tax collection in parliament. He said there was a need to reform the tax system to achieve self-reliance – App